Summer Fireworks in Japan

Hanabi’s literal meaning is Flower Fire.

Originally used to ward off evil spirits, fireworks (花火, Hanabi) have a long history in Japan and are an integral part of Japanese summers. Hundreds of firework shows are held every year across the country, mainly during the summer holidays in July and August, with some of them drawing hundreds of thousands of spectators. 

Japanese firework shells range in size from smaller ones to the world record holding Yonshakudama shells which are 1.2 meter in diameter and weigh several hundred kilograms. The most common are starmines, which are spherical shells that have a variety of burst patterns. Other unique fireworks include Niagara sparklers that are set under bridges and resemble the famous waterfalls, and formed shells that burst into familiar shapes such as hearts, smiley faces and cartoon characters. Most locations for viewing are by a river, the ocean, or a sports stadium.

Every district and prefecture in Japan has it’s own celebration. We dress up in Yukata (cotton summer Kimono’s) take our fans out and enjoy the day eating food prepared especially by street stalls. There are multiple games for children, then find a good spot to put a mat down and watch the show which are quite elaborate and more creative every year. After the show we continue the night eating and drinking. We usually have Yakitori (chicken and vegetables grilled). Joined by family and friends. It is and event that children and adults look forward to every year!

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