Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Japanese Summer – A Season of Fireworks and Dance Festivals 1

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/12 Traditional Culture ,

It’s summer time now in Japan. If you know how hot and sweaty you can be during summer in Japan, then you also know that summer is also the time of fireworks and dance festivals. Almost every night of summer in Japan has fireworks, it may be coming from a small village or a big city.

Japanese Fireworks

History of Fireworks in Japan

According to Nihongo Instructor Club website, though fireworks did not origate in Japan, its appearance in the country started in late 1540s when guns and gunpowder were introduced by Lusitanians (Indo-European people living in Lusitania which part of it became the modern Portugal). Historical records show that the first shogun of the Edo Government, Tokugawa Ieyasu, saw fireworks from the Edo Castle. Firework-making then became popular and the makers improve their skills during that period (1604-1868). Firework events before were held to drive away evil spirits and to console the souls of the dead. Fireworks then became as a form of public entertainment during summer in 18th century.

2713575970_3b3a73069b_z

Are you not entertained? Fireworks sure does bring amusement to kids and adults alike. (Photo by Spiegel on Flickr)

Characteristics of Japanese Fireworks

It is expected that fireworks should come in different colors and Japanese fireworks did sure follow it. The main characteristic that distinguishes Japanese fireworks from other countries’ fireworks is its precise circle with many colors as possible. Each spark of the firework also changes colors, from red to green to blue, etc. Each shot also has multiple circles.

Characteristic of Japanese Fireworks: precise circle-shaped. (Photo by Kondo Atsushi on Flickr)

DSC_0140

Each shot also can contain multiple circles.

DSC_0008

Even from afar, you could see the fireworks’ precise round shape.

Some Famous Firework Shows in Japan

Sumida River Fireworks Festival, Tokyo

It is one of oldest firework shows in Japan. The first Sumida Firework Show can be traced back to year 1733 under the eight shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune. This event was held after a year in which Edo (now Tokyo) was hit by a famine which killed about one million people. Nowadays, it is held during the last week of July. Because of the tall buildings and skyscrapers of Tokyo, the best spots to view this event are the parks along the river. For more details about the event, read it here: Sumidagawa Hanabi.

Tokyo Bay Grand Fireworks, Tokyo

Remember Rainbow Bridge? This event is held north of it. It is held every second Saturday of August.

rainbow bridge

The Rainbow Bridge. Now, imagine this view with fireworks. (Photo by Luke Ma on Flickr)

Tenjin Festival, Osaka

One of the Japan’s Three Great Festivals, along with Kyoto’s Gion and Tokyo’s Kanda, the Tenjin Festival’s firework display is also something to look forward to. On the second night of the festival, which is held in late July, more than 4000 firework shells are launched. The fireworks display is done simultaneously with the procession of flaming ships bearing shrines along the Ogawa River.

Miyajima Fireworks, Hiroshima

The Torii (Shinto shrine gate) of Itsukushima Shrine, sure lives up to its name as one of Japan’s Three Views (日本三景) even during summer. Held in mid-August, he fireworks are launched from boats off the north of Miyajima Island and when viewed with the gate, it produces unique photographic shots, thus the Miyajima Fireworks was dubbed as the most photographed firework event.

Enjoying Fireworks Like Locals

As seen in Japanese manga and anime, firework watching is a romantic thing to do between couples. Some people going to these events  can be seen wearing yukata, or the summer version of kimono. There are also food stalls in these areas where you can munch and gulp Japanese food and drinks.

207252520_56bfad6ad4_o

People going to watch fireworks can be seen wearing Yukata. Food stalls are also present in these areas. (Photo by Javi Sevillano on Flickr)

In the next part of this series, we will feature another Japanese summer staple – the Bon Odori or Bon dance festival.

Sources:

1. http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2267.html

2. Firework Shows. Nihongo Instructor Club. http://www.nicjapanese.com/english/e-cul-hanabi.html

The following two tabs change content below.

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

eating utensils

Chopsticks in the Japanese Way: History and Etiquette

Lohb’s photo in Flickr Can you eat using your bare hands? Or you need spoon and fork? Or perhaps a knife? Well for me, sometimes I do prefer eating using my hands and I am lucky there is no issue with it in our country. We used to eat using spoon and fork but oftentimes […]

Read Article

Kiji2

Japanese Monkey (Part2), and Pheasant related stories

Monkey in Japan Although “saru” is a general word for monkeys, I guess most of Japanese would think it refers to Nihon-zaru, Japanese monkey. It has fluffy coat, red face and red butt. There are many areas where wild monkeys live in Japan. I’ve never seen one, but I saw a warning like “Be careful […]

Read Article

kana cards

Kotoba Asobi: Goroawase

Goroawase (語呂合わせ) is a form of Japanese wordplay whereby homophonous words are associated with a given series of letters, numbers or symbols, in order to associate a new meaning with that series. The new words can be used to express a superstition about certain letters or numbers. More commonly, however, goroawase is used as a […]

Read Article

kanpai

The Nomikai – Bonding Through Drinking

A nomikai (飲み会) is a drinking party event particular to Japanese culture. It is a part of the culture of most places of employment. They are most often held in restaurants or izakaya (drinking place, bar), usually with everyone seated at one large table or occupying a separated section of the venue. The following two […]

Read Article

Shinai

Kendo, The Way of The Sword – Kendo Rules

As the concept of kendo states that kendo is to discipline the human character through the application of the principle of the katana, there are kendo rules and regulations followed in a match (or in Japanese 試合, shiai). Kendo Match Rules A kendo match is herein defined as a contest between two contestants for a […]

Read Article

vacation

Golden Week – Shōwa Day

Tomorrow in Japan is Shōwa Day. It is the start of the so-called Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク, Gōruden Wīku). Often abbreviated as GW, Golden Week is a term applied to a series of public holidays between April and May. Golden Week The current holidays celebrated during this period are: April 29 – Shōwa Day (昭和の日, Shōwa […]

Read Article

Gohan Kamehame Wave

Anime: Top 10 moves

Silly at times, but cool most of the time. Signature moves in Japanese anime are very common. You’ll find them in most animes that have a lot of fight scenes, and animes that feature sports. Here’s my top 10 favorite signature moves. My Top 10 Favorite Signature Moves 10. Phantom Shot Character: Tetsuya Kuroko Anime: […]

Read Article

Chinowa featured image

Summer Ritual at Shinto Shrine: “Chinowa-kuguri”

When I visited my wife’s parents’ home, I also went to a nearby shrine called Kibitsu shrine. At that time, an interesting ritual was being held. I’m going to introduce about it on this post. “Chinowa-kuguri” The ritual that has been held there is called “Chinowa-kuguri”. “Chinowa-kuguri” is one of the rites of “Nagoshi-no-harae”, which […]

Read Article

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Naoshima Art House Project – Part 2

In my first post I shared with you my experience when I visited Go’o Shrine and Kadoya. Now I will tell you about the other 4 houses – Gokaisho, Haisha, Ishibashi and Minamidera. Gokaisho designed by Yoshihiro Suda. Gokaisho litterally means a place to meet and play go – a traditional Japanese board game. But don’t expect […]

Read Article

shichigosan

Shichi-Go-San – Celebrating A Long and Prosperous Life Ahead

Last Saturday, November 15, was Shichi-Go-San in Japan. It is a traditional festival celebrating the growth and well-being of young children particularly girls of seven years old, five-year-old boys, and children of three years old, hence the name of the day, Shichi-go-san (七五三 literally means 7-5-3). Because it is not a national holiday, it is […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑