Not-so-crowded Firework Festivals Near Tokyo
Travel a bit farther for summer spectaculars without the masses.
The season of summer firework festivals, or hanabi taikai, starts in July and goes through August.
Huge displays like the Sumida River Fireworks in Asakusa are iconic and definitely worth going to, but like everything popular in Japan, the fun can easily be jilted by the endless crowds. Fighting to get a good spot can feel like getting jostled in an unvoluntary moshpit, with about 1 million people attending annually.
For those who aren’t about that crowd life, here’s a quick guide to smaller firework festivals in and around Tokyo this summer!
Okutama Noryo Firework Festival
Based on the outskirts of Tokyo, Okutama is a great one-day getaway from the city crowds, regardless of the season. The annual fireworks festival attracts just over 10,000 people but the experience is as authentic as it gets. Start your day watching the lion dance and mikoshi (small portable shrine) parade at the Okuhikawa Shrine Festival near Okutama station.
For an unbeatable view, take the four-hour hike to the summit of Mount Atago, or just stay around the station and watch the fireworks spark up the night sky against the beautiful Okutama woods.
- 2019 Date: Aug. 10
- 7:45pm to 8:20pm
- The closest station is Okutama Station. Okuhikawa Shrine is only a three-minute walk away if you want to watch the shrine procession beforehand.
- http://www.town.okutama.tokyo.jp/sangyo/kanko/hanabitaikai/documents/42poster.pdf (Japanese only)
Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival
While most summer fireworks in Tokyo are set off along the river, you can watch these inside a stadium! Enjoy the show from Jingu Stadium, Jingu Secondary Stadium, or the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium. To get up-close to the action, a ticket is required, but that just means you don’t have to worry about fighting for a spot!
- 2019 Date: Aug. 10
- 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Tickets start from ¥3000 and up.
- The venues are in short walking distance from several stations including Kokuritsu-Kyogijo Station on the Oedo line and Shinanomachi Station on the Chuo-Sobu line.
- http://www.jinguhanabi.com/ Japanese only
Mother Farm Chiba Firework Festival
Chiba’s Mother Farm is a popular day-trip destination for many families, but in summer, it takes visitors’ expectations to another level with daily firework events. Though not a typical festival, the vast farm allows plenty of space to see the night lights without anyone breathing on your shoulder.
There will be approximately 500 fireworks — a minor scale in comparison to the usual ones, but the perks of watching the night lights after petting cows and guinea pigs all day long is irresistible!
- 2019 Dates: Several dates from July 31 to August 31. Check their website for the full schedule.
- 7:50 p.m.
- ¥1,500 for adults, ¥800 for children, ¥600 for dogs
- The closest station is Kimitsu Station. Take the local bus from there and get off at the Mother Farm bus stop.
Ota Ward Peace Fireworks Festival
Around 5,000 fireworks are set off alongside the Tokyo’s Tama River annually on Aug. 15 — the date marking the end of WWII in Japan. Symbolizing Ota ward’s declaration as the “City of Peace,” the shimmering display reflects beautifully along the river. Here’s your chance to enjoy a show along a Tokyo riverside with slightly fewer crowds than the Edogawa Fireworks.
- Annually, Aug. 15
- 7:30 p.m. to 8:10 p.m.
- The closest station is Rokugodote Station on the Keikyu Line. Walk about five minutes from there to reach the viewing area near the Tama River.
Chofu City of Cinema Autumn Fireworks
Chofu is dubbed the “City of Cinema,” as many studio and film making companies are based there. The fireworks are choreographed to background music from popular movies, as a nod to the city’s film industry legacy. Both free and paid seats are available along the Tama River, but of course, the paid seats offer the best views.
- 2019 Date: Sept. 7
- 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- Paid seating available from ¥2,000 and up.
- The closest station is Keio Tamagawa station on the Keio line. The river is a few minutes' walk from there.
- https://hanabi.csa.gr.jp/ Japanese only