Fireworks are an integral part of Japanese summer, and Ibaraki prefecture hosts a number of marvelous displays every year. Dust off your yukata and get ready to shout ‘tamaya!’, because these festivals are not to be missed.
83rd Annual Tsuchiura National Fireworks Competition
When: October 4, 6pm onwards
Where: Near the Gakuen Obashi Bridge on the banks of the Sakuragawa River
The Tsuchiura Fireworks Competition began in 1925. Originally it was a festival to commemorate the spirits of the Kasumigaura Naval Air Corps who died while on duty, and to promote local commerce. From 1947 it became a competition where top ranked firework artists could test their skills. Firework artists colour the sky with giant flowers in an enormous display of skill to the delight of huge crowds of onlookers. Make sure you arrive early to get a spot!
Events already finished for the year
Hitachi Sand Art Festival Fireworks
When: July 20, 8 – 8:20pm
Where: Kawarago Port and Beach, Hitachi
The Sand Art Festival marks the opening of the Kawarago Beach Swimming Spot. These splendid fireworks are brought to you by Nomura Fireworks, a local Ibaraki brand. The fireworks set to music are particularly spectacular.
29th Annual Sakai Furusato Festival Fireworks
When: July 21, 7:30 – 9:10
Where: The banks of the Tonegawa River, Sakai
These fireworks mark the closing of the Sakai Furusato Festival. The dynamically delicate fireworks set to music and starmines will make you forget the heat of summer.
Oarai Ocean Fireworks Festival
When: July 26, 7:30 – 8:30pm
Where: Oarai Sun Beach, Oarai
Around 3000 fireworks light up the summer night sky over the ocean during the Oarai Ocean Fireworks Festival, held on the spacious Oarai Sun Beach. There are 10-hit runs of extremely large individual fireworks, big starmines, and wide-area starmines. The finale, a volley of fireworks set off in time to music, is particularly spectacular.
The 57th Annual Hitachi Port Festival
When: July 27, 7:30 – 8:30
Where: Pier 4, Hitachi Port, Hitachi
Hitachi Port lies on the front steps of Hitachi City. The Hitachi Port Festival is a huge event that has become a staple of the Hitachi area. Local businesses open around 100 stalls and floats and portable shrines fill the streets during this embodiment of summer festival spirit. From 7:30pm around 2000 fireworks are set off over Pier 4.
The 19th Annual Ajigaura Beach Fireworks Festival
When: July 27, 7 – 8:30
Where: Ajigaura Beach, Hitachinaka
This fireworks festival is held at Ajigaura Beach, one of Ibaraki’s best know swimming spots. Feel the sea breeze and listen to the waves lap on the sand as you watch large individual fireworks, starmines, and unique custom fireworks light up the ocean.
54th Annual Mito Komon Festival
When: August 1, 7:30 – 8:30pm
Where: Lake Senba, Mito
Around 4500 fireworks including fast volleys, custom fireworks, extra-big starmines, wide starmines, and starmines set to music light up Lake Senba during the Mito Komon Festival, one of Mito’s biggest festivals. Enjoy the reflection of the fireworks on the lake’s surface.
9th Annual Koga Fireworks Festival
When: August 2, 7:20 – 8:50pm
Where: Koga Golf Links, Koga
A whopping 20,000 fireworks are let off during the Koga Fireworks Festival. Behind the golf course where the festival is held, you can find the Watarase Basin, the largest river basin in Honshu.
Shimotsuma Sanuma Fireworks Festival
When: August 2, 7:30 – 9pm
Where: Sanuma Lake, Shimotsuma
3000 fireworks colour the sky over Sanuma Lake during the Shimotsuma Sanuma Fireworks Festival. Be amazed as large fireworks set to music explode above you. The mega starmine that signals the finale is a must see.
Hitachi Kawarago Ocean Fireworks Festival
When: August 2, 7:30 – 8:30pm
Where: Kawarago Beach, Hitachi
If you lay on your back in the sand and look up it’s almost as though you are being bathed with multicoloured rain. Watch as 1000 large individual fireworks, starmines, and volleys brighten the evening sky.
Toyoura School District Summer Fireworks Festival
When: August 2, 7:10 – 8pm
Where: Kawashiri Port Swimming Spot, Hitachi
Cool off on a hot summer’s night with starmines at the Kawashiri Port Swimming Spot.
39th Annual Kawashima Fireworks Festival
When: August 3, 7:30 – 9pm
Where: The banks of the Kinugawa River, south of the Shin Kawashima Bridge
2000 fireworks will colour the night sky and put you in a festive mood during the Kawashima Fireworks Festival.
25th Annual Juuou-machi Festival
When: August 3, 7:45 – 8:15pm
Where: Hongo Zensen (In front of the JA Juuou Branch)
This festival begins at noon in the park near the station with taiko drum performances and dancing by local children. In the afternoon there will be a portable shrine parade along the street in front of the station (ekimae doori) and a flea market in the rotary in front of the station. In the evening a fireworks display will signal the end of the festival.
2014 Hitachi Summer Festival
When: August 8, 8pm onwards
Where: Ose Grand, Hitachi
The Hitachi Summer Festival will start at 6:30pm, with a display of around 400 fireworks from 8pm. Sparklers will be distributed to children, but the supply is limited so the early bird gets the worm. There will be stalls, performances, and plenty of fun at this lively local festival.
61st Annual Toride Tonegawa River Fireworks
When: August 9, 7 – 8:15pm (may be postponed in bad weather)
Where: Toride Ryokuchi Undo Park, Toride
There will be around 7000 fireworks let off during this magnificent fireworks display over the Tonegawa River. There is plenty to be excited about, including a 300m Niagara Falls firework. You won’t be able to look away during this intense barrage of colour and light. There will be box seats available for a cost for those who want a better view.
36th Annual Tokai Festival Fireworks
When: August 9, 7-8:30pm
Where: Akogigaura Park, Tokai
The Tokai Festival is one of Tokai’s three biggest festivals, held every year in August. Enjoy a beautiful firework display that will colour the summer night sky.
Kokaigawa River Fireworks Festival
When: August 9, 7 – 8:30pm
Where: On the banks of the Kokaigawa River, south of Narita Bridge, Chikusei
This is the 10th time the Kokaigawa River Fireworks Festival has been held. One of the interesting features of this festival is that you can pay 1000 yen (or more if you want something fancier) for a firework that symbolises safety for your family, traffic safety, or prosperity for your business, and the firework will be set off for you. Unfortunately the deadline for purchasing the fireworks, July 15, has already passed this year, but this beautiful display is still worth witnessing for yourself.
27th Annual Nakaminato Fireworks Festival
When: August 12, 7 – 8:30pm
Where: Nakaminato Fishing Port Area, Hitachinaka
Enjoy a variety of fireworks at one of the busiest fishing ports in Ibaraki. Your breath will be taken away at the sight of the ‘underwater fireworks’ – a type of firework that is released on the water so that the lights dance across the surface, seeming to shoot out from under it.
Daigo Fireworks Festival and Floating Lanterns
When: August 14, 7:15-9pm
Where: Where Kujigawa River and Oshikawa River meet, Daigo
The sight of countless Obon lanterns floating along the river against a backdrop of fireworks colouring the summer evening sky is a sight to behold, and certainly not one to miss.
40th Annual Gozenyama Cooling Fireworks Festival
When: August 14, 7:30 – 8:30pm
Where: Noguchi, near Nakagawa River Bridge, Hitachiomiya
An established festival in the Gozenyama area, which is now part of Hitachiomiya City. Around 1000 fireworks will make this beautiful area even more spectacular than usual.
Ose Summer Festival
When: August 14, 8pm onwards
Where: Ose Fishing Port Square, Hitachi
This festival includes a kids’ treasure hunt, an exhibit by the fire department, a beach taiko drum performance, bon-odori, and more. The bon-odori is a traditional Japanese dance to welcome the spirits of the dead during Obon. Each region has its own version of the dance, so it is definitely worth checking out.
Ushiku Daibutsu Lantern Festival Fireworks
When: August 15, 7pm (dedicatory fireworks) and 9pm (main fireworks)
Where: Ushiku Daibutsu grounds, Ushiku
See the striking Ushiku Daibutsu lit up by a multitude of splendid fireworks.
Ota Festival Fireworks
When: August 15, 8:30 – 9pm
Where: Yamabuki Undo Park, Hitachiota
The fireworks mark the finale of the Ota Festival bon-odori, where locals get together and dance to beat the heat.
Hokota Fireworks Festival
When: August 16, 7:30 – 9pm
Where: Shin Hokota Western District, the lower part of Hokotagawa River, Hokota
The Hokota Fireworks Festival is held once every two years. Multicoloured fireworks will bloom like giant flowers in the August evening sky during this wonderful event.
Ayumi Festival Fireworks
When: August 16, 8pm onwards
Where: Ayumizaki Park, Lake Kasumigaura, Kasumigaura
The Ayumi Festival is a major festival held each year on August 16 in Ayumizaki Park. Around 1000 fireworks will light the sky above Lake Kasumigaura as the finale to this exciting festival, held alongside the Hobikisen fishing sail boats that Kasumigaura is famous for.
20th Annual Hitachinaka Festival Fireworks
When: August 16, 7 – 8:30pm
Where: JGSDF Camp Katsuta, Hitachinaka
These fireworks are let off on the first day of the two-day Hitachinaka Festival. Giant starmines and original fireworks set in time to music decorate the summer evening sky in a breathtaking show of smoke and lights. Day two of the festival is also packed with events including a portable shrine parade and dance contest, so be sure to check it out!
26th Annual Miwa Furusato Festival
When: August 16, 8 – 8:30pm
Where: Miwa Undo Park, Hitachiomiya
The festival begins at 2:30pm, and is packed with fun-filled events, including a character show and a raffle. The fireworks will follow the bon-odori and lantern parade, signaling the end of the festival.
Shirosato Furusato Festival
When: August 16, 8:45 onwards (approx. 20 minutes, may be postponed in bad weather)
Where: Daikeio Bridge riverbed, Awayama, Shirosato
With a folk song performance, bon-odori, yosakoi, and much more, the Shirosato Furusato Festival is packed with awesome events. The fireworks display will paint the summer sky. The finale is particularly noteworthy.
31st Annual Ayunosato Festival
When: August 23, 7:30 – 8:30
Where: Seiryu Park, Hitachiomiya
With events such as ayu (a type of fish) catching and a barbeque, the Ayunosato festival allows you to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. A wonderful fireworks display draws this summer festival, which focuses on bringing people closer together, to a close.
2014 Inashiki Summer Festival Fireworks
When: August 23, 7 – 8:30pm
Where: Edozaki Sogo Undo Park, Inashiki
This summer festival has been held in late August since 1996. The fireworks display, which is the main event of the festival, boasts the most fireworks of any display in Ibaraki.
36th Annual Suigo Itako Fireworks Festival
When: August 23, 7:30 – 9pm
Where: A temporary site on the Kita-Tonegawa River in front of Suigo Hokusai Park, Itako
Starmines and other fireworks will colour the Suigo sky. You can enjoy fireworks over the water up close from the viewing point in Hokusai Park.
36th Annual Kashima Fireworks Festival
When: August 23, 7:30 – 9pm
Where: Lake Kitaura, Ofunatsu, Kashima
During the Kashima Fireworks Festival 10,000 fireworks will appear in the sky above Lake Kitaura. The ‘underwater starmines’ are known to be particularly spectacular. As the fireworks are reflected on the surface of the lake, you can enjoy twice the beauty of a regular fireworks display.
Tone Cooling Fireworks Festival
When: August 23, 8 – 8:50pm
Where: The banks of the Tonegawa River downstream from Sakae Bridge, Tone
Many people visit this lively festival on the banks of the Tonegawa River. See the sky painted a variety of colours during this wonderful fireworks display.
7th Annual Kitaibaraki Citizens Festival
When: August 24, 8 – 8:30pm
Where: Around Isohara Station, Kitaibaraki
Around 1000 citizens join the parade dance that is the main feature of the Kitaibaraki Citizens Festival. The fireworks display is the finale. You can also enjoy a multitude of handmade games and events.
30th Annual Kirasse Festival Fireworks
When: August 24, 8 – 8:45pm
Where: Hasaki Swimming Spot and the area around Sun Sun Park, Kamisu
This festival is held at the Hasaki Swimming Spot, which was chosen as one of the 100 best ocean swimming spots in Japan. The water is shallow for a long distance from the shore, making it ideal for a fireworks festival. Don’t miss out on the mega starmine!
50th Annual Joso Kinugawa River Fireworks Festival
When: August 30, 6:20 – 8:25 (may be postponed to August 31 in stormy weather)
Where: On the banks of the Kinugawa River, Hashimoto Undo Park, Joso
This display is coordinated by the Japan Fireworks Artists Association and some of Japan’s leading firework artists. It will include computer controlled fireworks, fireworks set to music, and much, much more. This spectacular display is not one to be missed.
Naka Himawari Festival 2014
When: August 30, 7 – 7:40pm
Where: Naka Sogo Park, Naka
42nd Annual Kamisu Fireworks Festival
When: September 20, 7 – 8:30pm
Where: Gonoike Ryokuchi Athletic Field, Kamisu
The fireworks in the evening are the main event of this fireworks festival, colouring the night sky above Kamisu brilliant shades of every colour.