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[2019 Edition] Beat the Rush! The 5 Best Hidden Fireworks Festivals in the Tokyo Suburbs

If you are visiting Japan during the summer, you will want to check out a fireworks festival. There are a number of such festivals in the Tokyo area, but the most famous are packed to the brim with visitors and it can be difficult to get a good view. Therefore, this article introduces to you to five fireworks festivals held in suburban Tokyo, away from the city center.

1. The Kita City Fireworks Association (Akabane)

The Kita City Fireworks Association is held at the beginning of the fall on the riverbed of the Arakawa River and the Iwabuchi Floodgate. Visitors can enjoy the photogenic sight of beautiful and colorful fireworks launched above the flood gates. If you wish to avoid the crowds, then the Kawaguchi City side of the Arakawa River in Saitama Prefecture is recommended. From there, you can enjoy the powerful fireworks display from atop an embankment. Downriver from the site of the fireworks festival, you will find the Shikahama Bridge, and upstream you will find the Arakawa Athletics Park. Both are great, secluded spots hidden from the hustle and bustle. Paid seating for the fireworks festival is also available.

In 2018, the event was held on September 29th (Sat).
Number of fireworks: 7,777
Getting there: 25-minute walk from JR Akabane Station, 20-minute walk from Akabane-iwabuchi Station and Shimo Station on the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line. On the day of the event, it may take 40-50 minutes to get to and from the station due to crowds.

1. The Kita City Fireworks Association (Akabane)

5-41-2 Shimo, Kita-ku, Tokyo

2. The Hachioji Festival - Fireworks Festival (Nishi-Hachioji)

This fireworks festival is held at the Daiwa House Stadium, a baseball park in Fujimori Park. The "shikake" fireworks (special types of fireworks used to create shapes and Japanese characters on the ground) need to be viewed from inside the stadium itself, however, the fireworks launched into the sky can be enjoyed from outside. If you want a great view of the fireworks, Asama Shrine and the athletics grounds are popular, but they also get quite full. If you venture out further, the comparatively emptier Asakawa Bridge will provide you more space in which to enjoy the show.

The 2019 event will be held on the 27th of July (Sat).
Number of fireworks: 3,500
Getting there: Approximately 15-minute walk from JR Nishi-Hachioji Station and Yamada Station on the Keio Takao Line

2. The Hachioji Festival - Fireworks Festival (Nishi-Hachioji)

2-2 Dai-machi, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo

3. Ome City Nohryo Fireworks Festival (Ome)

This fireworks festival is held in Ome City. The centerpiece of the festival is the ground fireworks display known as the "Great Nagayama Light Up" that is situated on the front facing slopes of the Nagayama Park Grounds (paid seating only). The minute the fireworks are lit up, a spectacular light illuminates the trees from within the darkness (only visible from the main venue). As well as paid seating (starting at 1,000 JPY), the grounds surrounding the Ome Daichi Primary School are also a popular viewing spot. If you venture further away from the main venue to Kamanofuchi Park, you will be able to enjoy the view in a more relaxed environment.

The 2018 event was held on August 4th (Sat).
Number of fireworks: 4,000 Getting there: 10-minute walk from JR Ome Station

3. Ome City Nohryo Fireworks Festival (Ome)

217 Hon-cho, Ome-shi, Tokyo

4. The Akishima Whale Festival and Yume (Dream) Fireworks (Higashi-Nakagami)

The Whale Festival* is generally held in August across two days. The site of the event, Showa Park (athletics stadium), is home to a variety of stalls and stage shows. On the first night of the festival, fireworks are launched from the Netz Tama Akishima Stadium, setting the night sky alight with the exploding fireworks, reminiscent of flowers blooming. For those who wish to enjoy the fireworks in a quieter setting, it is recommended to visit Hachisei Park, which is very close to Showa Park. It is a hidden spot that allows you to view the fireworks in a more relaxed environment.
* In 1961, an approximately 1.6 million-year-old whale fossil was discovered in Akishima. It was this discovery that gave rise to the festival.

The 2018 event was held on August 4th (Sat).
Number of fireworks: 2000
Getting there: 5-minute walk from JR Higashi-Nakagami Station

4. The Akishima Whale Festival and Yume (Dream) Fireworks (Higashi-Nakagami)

5-12 Azuma-cho, Akishima-shi, Tokyo

5. The Okutama Nohryo Fireworks Festival (Okutama)

This fireworks festival is held in Okutama, affectionately known as the backyard of Tokyo. Completely different to the city center, in Okutama there are no tall structures blocking your view. Because the fireworks are launched from the top of a mountain, you can enjoy them from a wide variety of locations, such as around Okutama Station and standing on the bridge on the street in front of the station. There are also paid viewing seats. Festivals are held at the Okuhikawa and Haguro Mita shrines at the same time as the fireworks festival, so if you wish to get in touch with the local culture of Okutama, be sure to check them out.

This year's festival will be held on the second Saturday of August. In 2018 it was held on August 11th (Sat).
Number of fireworks: 1,000
Getting there: Located close to JR Okutama Station

5. The Okutama Nohryo Fireworks Festival (Okutama)

215-6 Hikawa, Okutama-machi, Nishitama-gun, Tokyo

If you venture out of central Tokyo, there are less people and you are sure to be able to have a pleasant experience viewing the fireworks. If the festival is held somewhere where you are required to sit, like a park, then a picnic sheet will come in handy. Enjoy!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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