How to enjoy the Japanese fireworks

Japanese modern lifestyle

Hi it’s Yuko!

Speaking of summer in Japan, fireworks! Summer in Japan, why don’t you enjoy watching the fireworks or playing the fireworks with your family and friends?

Today, I’d like to introduce Japanese fireworks. Large fireworks that bloom in the night sky is so beautiful but how did it start? How do we enjoy? Is there a fireworks festival this year? Let’s check it out!

History of Japanese fireworks

Japanese love fireworks in summer, but how did it start? Why is it summer?

The origin of fireworks is not Japan

In fact, the origin of fireworks is not in Japan. The gunpowder itself, which is the raw material for fireworks, was invented in China. After that, gunpowder was transmitted to Europe through the Silk Road, and it is said that something like fireworks was taken place at a Christian event in Florence, Italy around the 14th century.

At that time, the event similar to fireworks was made by loading gunpowder on floats and making sounds and smoke while parading around the event.

The beginning of Japanese fireworks

The beginning of fireworks in Japan is uncertain. However, it was during the Edo period that the common people began to enjoy the flower-shaped fireworks as they are today.

In the early 1700s, Japan during the Edo period suffered from a great famine and epidemic, and many people died. Therefore, the general at that time ordered the launch of fireworks to mourn the spirits of the dead.

In Japan, there is a period called “Obon” to mourn the spirits of ancestors (August 13 to 15). Since it was originally a fireworks to mourn the spirits of the dead and ancestors, the fireworks display was established in Obon = summer.

What is “Ta- maya-“?

A long time ago, when Japanese people saw beautiful fireworks at a festival, they shouted “Ta-maya-(たーまやー)” or “Ka-giya-(かーぎやー)”. (Japanese people today may not know that there was such a custom.)

“Tamaya” and “Kagiya” are the names of famous fireworks companies in the Edo period. As a praise to the vendor who made the beautiful fireworks, people were screaming the name who made it.

If you see the beautiful fireworks and yell “Tamaya”, you may be seen by people that you are very Japanese!

Fireworks festival, 2021 in Hanshin area

Last year, in order to avoid close contact, we called it a secret firework and launched the fireworks by keeping the date, time and place secret.

As you know, this year’s fireworks has undergone major changes due to the effects of the coronavirus.
Let’s check how it is this year.

Fireworks information for 2021

Since vaccination is progressing this year, it is likely that a fireworks festival will be held for a longer term from summer to autumn in anticipation of the better situation of coronavirus after summer.

Also, instead of launching all the fireworks at once, it may be held on multiple days or in multiple times. Here is the current information about the nearby fireworks.

Minato Kobe Maritime Fireworks Festival

It is scheduled to be held for 5 days on weekdays in autumn instead of summer.

The Kobe Fireworks Festival is a popular fireworks festival that attracts more than 300,000 tourists every year. Therefore, in order to avoid close contact, fireworks will be launched 10 minutes a day for 5 consecutive days on weekdays. If it is held in autumn, you may be able to watch it without heat stroke!

I wore a yukata a few years ago and enjoyed the fireworks in Kobe with my friends on the eastern side of the Kobe Municipal Subway Chuoichiba-mae Station. The distance from the station (there is a bus) and the distance to the fireworks are a little far, but it was not so crowded and I was able to enjoy it relaxed and calmly.

Ashiya Summer Carnival

The Ashiya Fireworks Festival is also scheduled to be held this fall. The date is still undecided, but details will be announced around the end of June.

The Ashiya Summer Carnival is small, but it is very powerful because you can see fireworks up close.
If the schedule is decided and it is convenient for you, please go!

How to enjoy the Japanese fireworks

Finally, I will give you one point advice on the highlights of fireworks and how to enjoy them.

Don’t miss any moment!

The large flowers that open wide are very powerful at the fireworks. But that’s not the only way to enjoy fireworks. After the fireworks are launched and rise to the top of the sky, they stop for a moment just before they bloom. The moment is so beautiful!! Enjoy the moment when that time has stopped.

Another highlight is when they disappear. After they open maximum in shape of flower, they disappear suddenly and silently.

Please pay attention to every moment from when the fireworks are lit to disappeared.

Handy fireworks

You can also enjoy handy fireworks very easily in your garden or allowed park! They are sold at supermarkets and convenience stores.

When you do the handy fireworks, prepare a large bucket filled with water and a lighter. If you have a candle, it is convenient because you can light the fireworks immediately.

There is no rule to start handy fireworks in an order, but I like to save big fireworks to get excited later.
And at the end it is recommended to have a sparkler(せんこうはなび). Sparklers after big fireworks will cool down and you can enjoy summer nights quietly.

We can enjoy fireworks for a longer term in 2021

Normally there are fireworks festivals every day from July to August here and there.

in 2021, many fireworks festivals have been canceled again but it seems like we can still enjoy some numbers of fireworks festivals this year! The event will be held in consideration of infection control measures, such as shifting the schedule to autumn or dividing it into multiple times.

It means we can calmly watch the fireworks in a cool time, not on a hot summer night, and we can enjoy the fireworks for a long time until autumn.

Please wear yukata and enjoy this year’s fireworks!!

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