A summer tradition in Japan are the fireworks or "Hanabi". There are fireworks festivals throughout the country during July and August. I want to introduce 10 items you want to get ready, so that you can enjoy the Japanese fireworks festivals more. I also want to introduce some rules and things you want to keep in mind when going to a fireworks festival. If you plan to go, you might want to read this beforehand.
10 Items You want to bring to a Japanese fireworks festival
1 - A picnic sheet: a must if you're going to sit on the ground and watch. You can also stretch your legs.
2 - Bug repellent: Fireworks festivals take place near riverbeds and fields, so bring some to keep the bugs away.
3 - A return ticket for the train: The nearest train station will be crowded after the festival ends, so buy your ticket beforehand
4 - Drinks: You'll get thirsty while waiting for the festival to start. But be careful not to drink too much. The bathrooms in the area will be crowded.
5 - Ice packs: Put an ice pack in with your drinks to keep them nice and cold. A cooler box or bag comes in handy too.
6 - A trash bag: it's convenient to have one to put your trash in.
7 - Wet tissue: Just in case you get something on your clothes, or your hands get dirty.
8 - A paper fan: It's the Japanese way to watch the fireworks on a hot summer night while fanning yourself with one of these.
9 - A map of the fireworks festival site: Print out a map of the area from the festival HP so that you know where you're going. Don't forget to check where the bathrooms are.
10 - Small change: When you want to buy something at the food stands near the festival site, small change comes in handy.
Things you want to keep in mind at a Japanese fireworks festival
- Postponements or cancellations due to the weather: In case of bad weather, most festivals are postponed till the next day. If the weather is bad on both days, the festival will be cancelled.
- Transportation methods: I recommend using the train or bus instead of the car. There might be traffic restrictions and the roads will be jammed. Also, the nearest train station to the festival site will be the most crowded, so it's better to get off one station before and walk. Going to the grounds early is also one way to avoid the crowd.
- Bathrooms: There’ll be portable bathrooms at the festival grounds. There's always a long line for the girl's bathroom, especially right before the fireworks start. I recommend going to the bathroom as early on as possible.
- Clothing: It's a hot summer's night, but sitting on the ground for a long time might give you the chills. It's safer to bring a light jacket just in case.
Good manners for a Japanese fireworks festival
- Trash: It's the manner to take home whatever trash you may have. Don't bring things that you're only going to throw away. If you have to throw something away, do so in the trash cans set in the grounds. Don't leave it somewhere.
- Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in areas besides those designated for smoking. Even though it's outside, don't smoke on the riverbed grounds.
- Obey the guards: In places where it's most crowded, the guards will lead you, so listen to what they say.
- Stay within the festival grounds: Watch the fireworks within designated areas. It's against the law go onto private property and watch from there.
- Don't make trouble for other people: Don't stand up or make a racket in areas where there are other people sitting and enjoying the fireworks.