Japan Fireworks

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Sat 2012/07/28 13:00 JST in Places to visit in Japan

Summer in Japan - the season to be out n about enjoying the fireworks that take place across the country during July and August. A firework event is called Hanabi Taikai .
Went to see the fireworks at Yokohama last weekend and was the first time that we went to one over here. We've generally avoided going due to the crowds - a few years back a few folks including small children were crushed to death due to the amount of people who tried to pack a bridge for good view.

Zipping back in time to late afternoon. While we have our Suica passes to travel on the trains, more of the private train companies are issuing day passes like this one which enable you to travel between stations as many times as you like. This one good between Musashikoyama and Yokohama for 840 yen.

Arrival at Minato Mirai station - packed!

The escalator going up was closed off - probably to prevent accidents like the one that happened at Tokyo Big Sight a few years back.

The firework event we attended was the Kanagawa Shinbun Hanabi Taikai - been taking place every year since 1986.
The finale closes with two fireworks which reach a width of 480 meters wide @.@
The previous year was attended by an audience of about 270,000.

When there is a firework event, everybody knows about it through websites like Jalan.
Folks in Tokyo for example can check this page to see where the firework events are going to take place.
The next big one in Tokyo will take place in the Edo ward this Saturday. The event was attended by 139,000 people last year and 14000 fireworks were launched. A video of 2008's event can be seen below. If you want to go then the map is here - get off at Shinozaki station. Starts at 19:15 and ends at 20:30.

The one we attended at Yokohama also started at 19:15 and ended at 20:30. This road was pedestrianized for the day.

Many police folks and helicopters all over the gaff.

If you have been to Yokohama before then just imagine all of it covered with people - was packed.

The police was leading everybody across the bridge. Humans have a tendency to bunch up in the center of a line where everybody else is (there is a study on this but I don't know what its called and know I have not explained it properly ^^;)
All you have to do is keep to the sides of the moving crowd and you will see gaps in the fence which the police set up for people to be able to break away - step out and save yourself 30 mins.

Head to the best possible spot available even though it may seem crowded from a distance - for Yokohama, the delicious spot was near the water. The ground is covered with blue or green sheets with kanji written on them. These are spaces which have been "reserved" by others - it means "I-got-here-first-so-don't-even-think-about-it." Even if there is nobody sitting around the sheets, most folks respect that the area has been taken by others - just like how folks over here leave their bags unattended at Mc Dees.

You need to take off your shoes and just walk on the edges of other peoples sheets to get here. Once here, you will see that other folks have not placed their sheets evenly in rows - meaning that there are gaps all over the place. The very cute girl you see in the bottom left of the photo was sitting with her friend in one of the empty unclaimed gaps.

We also sat in a small corner taking up just a wee bit of Tanaka-sans sheet. As long as you acknowledge that you are taking up a wee bit of somebody else's sheet by passing them a greeting then you should be OK.

Don't walk on other people sheets with your shoes on - its just as bad as wearing shoes into somebody else's apartment over here.

The family in front of us was very cute - 3 of them bunched up together in a gap between the sheets.

One of Yokoyama's landmarks - the Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel.

An evening of fireworks begins!

Got both Fantavision games for the PS2 and the fireworks made me want to dig em up to play. Would be a great game to play on the iPad.

First time attempting to take photos of fireworks. Most are ISO 400 on a P setting. Camera used is Lumix GF1 with wide angle lens.

The evening ends with the two 480 meter wide gigaton fireworks.

Time to make our way slowly to the station. The crowds are lit up by floodlights and observed by police on high platforms.

Folks in front...

Folks over there on the other bridge...

More folks in front...

Folks behind...

Wealthy folks on the boat ^^; Tickets where 15000 yen per seat for the evening.

Police managing the crowds.

Love the light vests that they wear.

When the fireworks were over, the police were asking and leading everybody to Yokohama station which was a 20 min walk away. They did this to ease congestion at Minato Mirai and succeeded as most folks listened and headed off to Yokohama station.

The rest however headed back to the closest station which was Minato Mirai. Even when trying to get down to the platform, the police were saying that the entrance to Minato Mirai was in the direction of Yokohama ^^;
We just headed down to the platform but decided to stop off for some grub before going back home.

Yukata is a traditional Japanese garment that many wear during the Summer season. Many girls wear Yukata to see fireworks and to festivals too.

Starved - grub time.

Bukkake don for me. "Bukkake" does not always mean "condensed-milk-on-figure."

Rice with tori kara and a bowl O soup which you pour over the rice.

As soon as the fireworks are over, try to get away from the seating area as soon as possible while other folks are still trying to pack up their stuff or wait for others to leave. The more you wait, the longer you would have to wait afterwards at stations or restaurants.

More folks waiting for some grub.

Automated screen allows you to reserve seats at this sushi restaurant. Waiting time here is 24 mins.

A load of Yukata Magic.

As everybody was lead to Yokohama station, Minato Mirai was pretty empty ^^;;;

Yes - this train carriage is considered pretty empty ^^;

Changing trains - snap of the train timetable.

This photo has got nothing to do with the fireworks but ended up in the same batch of processed photos so I thought I'd upload as Saber is fwoargh.

Any fireworks for you in your neck of the woods?