The time for firework festival is coming, every summer, hundreds of colorful flowers, pink hearts, cute cat faces, big smiles and Pikachu will light up the sky in Tokyo, girls dressing in kimono with lovely hairstyle, food stalls lining up around the fireworks venues, Tokyoite will bring picnic blankets, camp out in the park, along the river, or any vantage points with bears and snacks, and enjoy fireworks which will last for more than 1 hour.
Fireworks were set off somewhere every week throughout Tokyo in summer, we joined one of the most historic fireworks festivals held on every forth Saturday in July, The Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival and found it one of the best firework show I had been to. The official watching venue was along the river between sensoji and sky tree, where you can plan your day trip around this area, and join the festival in the evening. It was a 2 for 1 fireworks for more than 80 hours, there were vantage points everywhere nearby, but to enjoy the show in a smart and local style, we list below information to help you with a good vantage point and best arrival time when you plan your trip.
Firework Display Location & Traffic
The fireworks will be shot off in two locations on the river, designated with a red graphic on the map, site 1 is between Sakurabashi Bridge and Kototoibashi Bridge (from 7:05pm to 8:30pm), while site 2 is Between Komagatabashi Bridge and Umayabashi Bridge Origins of the Kawabiraki(7:30pm to 8:30pm), from my experience for both locations, I would recommend site 1 for it’s longer period and variety of fireworks and it’s just next to sensoji with food stalls for your choice.
Site 1: it takes a 15 minute walk from Oshiage Station on the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line / Narihirabashi Station or Asakusa Station on the Tobu Isesaki Line.
Site 2: 3 minute walk from Kuramae Station, or Asakusabashi Station on the Toei Asakusa Line.
Traffic gets shut down at 6pm; there are barriers set to separate vehicles and pedestrians, vehicles inside the green zone around the river will be cleared out for walkways, subways get crowded and hard to enter from 6pm.
We journeyed from Kuramae Station where we had a delicious Dojo nabe meal nearby to sensoji at around 4pm, it was already crowded, people camped on the streets, police were directing the pedestrians, people moved back and forth to find the best vantage points, when we finally struggled to the gate of sensoji, it was the start of the nightmare, but hundreds of cute girls in their most beautiful kimono was still attractive for us to brave up and dove into Nakamise pass. We joined some lines seemed to have the most delicious snacks, and it did, then follow the firework graphic to the riverside. There were only limited entrance into the green zone, and all of them took a long walk, but we soon found out a secret shortcut following a group of local teenagers.
Tips for a Nice, Free View of the Fireworks
You have seen the crazy crowds for this annual festival, and heard my experience about the traffic, but still, you don’t want to waste a day camping along the river for a 80 minute fireworks, you can try what I have planned for my firework tour, I arrived early at 5pm to sensoji, but wandered around the Nakamise pass for 1 hour, and finally enter the green zone at 6pm, 90 minute before the start of the fireworks, but still had a comfortable place to sit and enjoy the entire good view of the fireworks:
– Arrive Early. I knew I were about to see the fireworks, so I planned my day trip around the Asakusa area, there were sky tree, Ueno, sensoji and Yanaka Ginza neighboring Asakusa area, it takes no longer than 15 minute shuttle back and forth on foot, take a morning walk along the riverside, talk to locals to see where could be the best vantage points.
– Good Vantage Points even you don’t camp out from early morning. I entered the green zone late at 6pm, the best vantage point seats were already full of blankets, late arrivals jostled each others, but most of them move constantly, because they never know where would be the best vantage point, there would be be walkways lined with people sitting around both sides, choose the other side away from the river, remember, the walkways were covered with lush trees, sitting on the riverside of the walkway is a dead space with trees overhead and wire mesh side of the river, but those won’t be problems for the other side, fireworks would set of high above the trees, and higher one after the other, check out the set off location at around 6pm and 7pm for the pre-set-off fireworks, and move to the right place and sit.
More Fireworks Photos and Video
Crowds After the Fireworks