4. Kanmon-kaikyo Fireworks Festival (Yamaguchi & Fukuoka)
Kanmon-kaikyo, the channel between the southern end of Honshu and northern end of Kyushu, hosts this amazing fireworks festival, a joint venture between Shimonoseki City in Yamaguchi Prefecture and Kitakyushu City in Fukuoka Prefecture. Both cities shoot their own fireworks, just like a fireworks battle! Kitakyushu features musical fireworks while Shimonoseki focuses on fireworks on the water. Since the area is quite open, you can enjoy it from the seaside or the mountains.
Date: mid-August (? for 2022)
3. Miyajima Water Fireworks Festival (Hiroshima)
Some people might remember a default Microsoft Windows wallpaper featuring fireworks by a torii gate. That very picture was taken from the Miyajima Firework Festival! And lots of international photographers come to shoot iconic pictures during this event.
What makes this display special is the use of water fireworks, or fireworks designed to explode underwater. When one of these fireworks goes off, it creates a brilliant light effect just above the surface of the water, leaving a dazzling reflection. The fireworks illuminate the torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making this one of the most popular and highly attended festivals in the country.
Date: late August (? for 2022)
2. Omagari Fireworks Festival (Akita)
The Omagari Fireworks Festival, one of the "Three Great Fireworks Festivals of Japan," is held in Akita Prefecture, about four hours from Tokyo by Shinkansen. Also known as the National Fireworks Competition, it's an annual competition among all the fireworks creators in Japan, with daytime and nighttime events. The fireworks are judged by design, color and creativity, and the winner receives the Prime Minister’s Award!
Date: late August
1. Nagaoka Fireworks Festival (Niigata)
Another of the Three Great Fireworks Festivals is held in Nagaoka, in Niigata Prefecture, less than two hours by Shinkansen from Tokyo. Station (In case you're wondering, the last of the Three Great Fireworks Festivals is the Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition, held in Ibaraki in October.)
Famous for its huge fireworks, the Nagaoka festival spans two days. Each day, there's an iconic fireworks tribute to the victims of the 2004 Niigata-Chuetsu Earthquake, incorporating so-called "Phoenix" fireworks—a bundle of fireworks weighing 1.7 kilograms (3.74 lbs)! It's surely the most popular firework show in the region, so you'd better get there early for a good spot!
Date: early August