Kawagoe Fireworks Festival

When you go to summer festivals in Japan, you will, more likely than not, see a spectacular fireworks display. Here in Kawagoe, there is a fireworks spectacular that lasts 90 minutes and sees over 6000 fireworks launched into the sky.

Hanabi = Fireworks

The history of fireworks in Japan is pretty interesting and, thanks to Macquaire University in Australia for making this excellent article open access, you can read quite a bit about it in depth. The long and short is this:

Hanabi - Two Second Street - www.twosecondstreet.com

Fireworks probably came to Japan with Dutch traders in the 1600s, and the first documented use of fireworks in Japan was during the meeting between Tokugawa Ieyasu and John Saris, envoy of the king of England (James I) in 1613. 1659 is also a notable date in Japanese fireworks history, when the famous Kagiya moved from present-day Nara to establish a fireworks shop in Edo (Tokyo). The Kagiya fireworks dynasty still exists in some form to this day, as a matter of fact! The paper goes into the symbolism of fireworks and their ephemeral nature and how it aligns with Japanese ideas of beauty and general philosophy. It’s a fascinating read if you have time to go through it all!

Fireworks in Japan

Japanese Fireworks - Two Second Street - www.twosecondstreet.com

With that, I don’t have much to say other than if you go see fireworks in Japan, get there early to stake a claim to a good spot, be prepared to get squished, and stay hydrated. At our fireworks festival, they played a few games where you had to guess which firework, the left or the right, was going to explode majestically. Also at our show, it went in small stages: A few minutes of explosive fireworks followed by a rest period and an announcement. It went like this for the entire 90-minutes, so if you see that a show lasts for such a long time, don’t worry; you’ll get plenty of breaks and senses won’t be assaulted for the entirety of the show.

Kawagoe Fireworks Festival - Two Second Street - www.twosecondstreet.com

Our festival was in Mid-August and took place at Isanuma Park. If you’re in Kawagoe in the summer, give it a go and check out those beautiful fire flowers!


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