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SUMMER FIREWORKS IN NIIGATA

Summer in Niigata means near-weekly fireworks festivals around the prefecture; it truly is the “kingdom of fireworks.” The coastal Kashiwazaki, riverside Nagaoka, and inland Katakai fireworks festivals are famous throughout Japan as the “Big Three Fireworks Festivals of Echigo”, and each year thousands of people come from all over the country to see them. Enjoy the glory and wonder of the Gion Kashiwazaki Matsuri with its beautiful Star Mine fireworks over the sea, the Nagaoka Matsuri where fireworks of all different sizes compete for brilliance over the Shinano River, and the Katakai Matsuri where four-shaku (120 cm) diameter fireworks, the world’s largest, illuminate the night sky. They all have roots in local fireworks festivals, and date back many years.

Star Mines launched from the sea and
shakudama reflecting in the water, competing for glory

 

This grand event, held out over the water, is the largest fireworks festival along the Japan Sea coast. The echoing thunder of the fireworks across the wide sea and the brilliant colors spreading over the waves attract thousands of spectators. The festival is noted for its extensive use of the huge shakudama fireworks, with 300 huge shakudama set off in a row and 100 shakudama set off simultaneously. The star mines launched from the sea are perhaps the most famous part of the festival, with local businesses and supporters from the city providing them. Star mines bursting up from the surface of the sea, or huge ones that scatter their radiance over 600 meters of the sky awe the spectators, and are not to be missed. The brilliant fireworks bursting in the night sky and their reflections in the sea surface, in perfect symmetry, are something you can only experience in the seaside city of Kashiwazaki.

Information

Gion Kashiwazaki Matsuri Fireworks Festival by the Sea
Venue: Central Kashiwazaki seaside (Minatomachi Seaside area)
Date: July 26th
Time: 19:30 to 21:30 (scheduled)
Parking slots: Available
Inquiries: 0257-22-3161 (Gion Kashiwazaki Matsuri Association)
Fireworks data: Approx. 15,000 fireworks. 300 shakudama (approx 30 cm) fireworks, 100 shakudama at once, 600 m wide star mines, etc.

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Be entranced by gorgeous fireworks at
one of the world’s greatest fireworks festivals

 

The Nagaoka Matsuri fireworks festival is considered one of the “Three Great Fireworks Festivals” of Japan. Over a two-day period, some 20,000 fireworks light up the night sky. The festival has continued to evolve throughout its history, and its awe-inspiring scale and fame mean that thousands of fans come from all over the country to see it each year. Some of the main attractions are the famous 3-shaku (approx. 90 cm) fireworks that burst forth in the summer night skies, the Phoenix fireworks (huge fireworks weighing 1.7 kg each created to pray for the city’s recovery), the Niagara fireworks across the Chosei Bridge over the Shinano River flowing through the center of the city, and the “100 Bags of Rice” (Kome Hyappyo) fireworks where 100 shakudama are fired off. The festival is part of a memorial for those who lost their lives in the firebombing of Nagaoka and the Chuetsu Earthquake, as well as prayers for recovery. The fireworks while a constant source of admiration are also launched with the prayers of many. This event not only showcases the beauty of the fireworks but also serves as an emotional event for the local residents and visitors.

Information

Nagaoka Matsuri Fireworks Festival
Venue: Banks of the Shinano River, Nagaoka City
Dates: August 2nd & 3rd
Time: 19:25 to 21:10 (scheduled)
Parking: Available
Inquiries: 0258-39-2221 (Nagaoka Matsuri Association)
Fireworks data: Approx. 20,000 (over two days). “Phoenix” prayers for recovery firework, huge 3-shaku fireworks.

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The massive yonshakudama that light up the entire sky
are even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

In this ancient religious offering style of festival that dates back to the Edo period, fireworks are donated to the shrine, paraded through town, and launched from a tube in the traditional manner. In 1891, the first three-shaku firework was launched in Katakai, and since then it has become home to this size (sanshakudama). The massive yonshakudama, which is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest firecracker in the world, explodes into a massive flower of fire 800 meters in diameter. This is just one of the many super-sized fireworks launched at this festival.

Information

Katakai Matsuri Asahara Shrine Annual Autumn Festival
Venue: Katagai-machi, Ojiya City (near the Asahara Shrine)
Dates: September 9th & 10th
Time: 19:30 to 22:20 (scheduled)
Parking: Available
Inquiries: 0258-84-3900 (Katakai Fireworks Association)
Fireworks data: Approx. 15,000 (over two days). 4-shaku fireworks, star mines, etc.

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