Fireworks Festival is one of the popular events during summer in Japan. Fireworks Festival + Kimono are one of the perfect matches in most of the romantic scenes in Japanese dramas. Most of the tourist would dress in Kimono to attend the fireworks event.
In the recent years, Japan started to promote fireworks festival during fall and winter too; this is a new thing for the elderly Japanese people. Some of them were surprised that the fireworks festival is being held in those seasons.
This is my fifth time participating in Nagono Ebisuke Fireworks Festival (長野えびす花火大會), the annual festival is held every year on November 23, which is also a Thanksgiving Labour Day. In the morning, you can also visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park and Zenko-ji. Here are some tips for those first-timers.
Protect yourself in the cold
This is the most important point. Please do not underestimate how cold it can be.
Japan’s winter nights are usually as cold as zero Celsius or so, it would be colder when the festival venue is near a river or a lake like it usually is. The festival usually last for 2 hours, sitting in the outdoor for 2 hours, you must not forget your winter coat, hat, gloves, seating cushion, blanket and warm packets.
On the day of the event, some of them were equipped with blankets and hot water bottles, the Japanese were well prepared for the cold night.
Pay attention to the opening and closing times
Japanese are very punctual, hence the schedule is very strict.
If you don’t want to miss out any fireworks and want to enjoy the full show, it is best to enter the venue earlier. Get some snacks before going in and wait for it to start. Maybe because the Winter Fireworks Festival is not as huge as the Summer Fireworks Festival or maybe due to the cold weather, I was able to find a good spot 30 minutes before the show.
Of course, it is an outdoor event, visitors are free to come and go. You don’t have to worry about not being able to reach on time.
Most of the show lasted for 2 hours; there is always a time allocation between one fireworks session to another. It is best to have some snack with you while waiting.
After the show, it might take you an hour to leave the parking area; I decided to leave 30 minutes early to avoid the traffic. If you don’t mind getting stuck in the traffic, you can wait until the end of the show.
Check the traffic before going
If you are driving there, it is best to check out the parking area before going. Most of parking areas near the festival might be occupied or used for VIP (for paid seating and reserved seating). It might get very crowded. Most of the parking will be fully occupied and it might take you 30 minutes to walk from the parking to the venue. It is recommended to go there in the late afternoon to avoid the traffic and not getting a proper parking spot.
If you are taking public transport such as the bus and train, it is best to reach the venue 1-2 hours earlier to avoid the crowd.
I recommend you use NAVITIME to navigate the route. If you are an Android user, you can only download it in Japan, or you may use a VPN to download it.
Go to the convenient store before the event
Most of the snacks and drinks in the festival are sold at a higher price. It is best to purchase your favorite snacks and drinks at the convenience store before going to the event. You can also get your seating cushions and warm packets in the store (Japanese’s convenience stores have everything!) It is recommended to go to the restroom before the event, the event is equipped with restrooms, but you might have to queue for very long time.
Tips for the gentlemen, get some warm drinks at the convenience store for the ladies. The walking distance from the station to the venue is about 30 minutes, it will add to your points, if you are an attentive boyfriend!
Enjoy the Winter Fireworks Festival with these four tips!
Where to find out about the local activities? Most of the big scale events have an official website, if time doesn’t permit, it is worth trying the local activities~
Do visit this website: http://www.rurubu.com/event/list.aspx?genre=9
It is equipped with all kinds of activities, hot springs and tour information, but it is mostly in Japanese~ On the top menu, you can pick the type of information and on the left, you can set the date and venue, it will display all the relevant information!
Want to know about local activities? Use NIINJA WiFi! The connection is very stable and fast nationwide!