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Hanabi Festival in Japan, 2014. {Fireworks Festival}

Hanabi Festival at Atami and Kamakura, Summer 2014!

Summer is here and the weather is getting really hot here in Japan. However, along with summer comes all the fun and amazing activities we can do only in summer! :) Smashing watermelons, visiting the beach and.... SUMMER FESTIVAL! (also known as Fireworks Festival {Hanabi Festival})

I've watched many animes and read many mangas where there's always a scene during the summer festival. Eating street stall food, walking around in a yukata (summer kimono made out of thin and light cotton material), and in the end, watching the fireworks together.

Free! anime featuring a summer festival scene.

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai 28: Summer Festival

Infinite Stratos OVA anime: In anime/manga, there's always the famous fireworks confession or kiss scene.

Yotsuba manga: Enjoying the fireworks display together on a mat at the beach.

In Japan, the people love to celebrate "fire" a lot and they have lots of fire festivals so without a doubt, they will go all out with a bang when it comes to fireworks. The Japanese appreciate such events very much. Fireworks as I know it back from Singapore only last not more than 20mins and it's usually only National Day Parade or New Year. Here in Japan, fireworks displays can go on to about 2 to 3 hours! Fireworks creators takes it very seriously and they put in a lot of effort and thoughts into designing the fireworks. Names of the creators/designers are said before firing the fireworks.

Fireworks at Atami Habour!
Naturally, for someone who loves Japan, anime, manga and it's culture, I've attended a couple of Hanabi Festival! I'm looking forward to attending more but apparently, it's only during the end of July and the start of August! :( I first attended it in Atami! It was held at the harbour. I wore a yukata and wooden clogs that were provided by the hotel. (It's my first time wearing those clogs! They were REALLY hard to walk in!) The hotel I stayed in provided a bus that took all of us to the area and even had premium sitting area for the fireworks viewing! (Premium just means we got an awesome viewing sitting, it's just stools along the harbour that's blocked off with ropes from public and there's a drinks area that they set up so we can buy beers or orange juice if we're thirsty. I don't mean plush chairs, air conditioning and gold class service.)

Falling like shooting stars.

I appreciate it very much as we were able to sit right at the front and experience the fireworks up close! (It was so close that my right eye hurt a little from the smoke and ashes.) The fireworks display at Atami was amazing! Everyone was just going WOW! and Sugoi!!!! The fireworks are huge and some explodes right above (or at least it looks like above!) so you see it falling as if towards you! It was amazing and the pictures or videos I have taken does not do it justice! The fireworks lasted for almost an hour! After that, we were herded straight back onto the bus and back to the hotel.

Huge Fireworks! Looks as if it's falling towards you.
 Here's a finale video of Atami's fireworks for you!

People in yukata, school uniforms and casual clothes.

After spending a couple of nights at Atami, we got on the train and headed to Kamakura! :) This is a huge festival where many people travel just for the festival. Aside from the festival, it's a great beach destination too so there were many people either in beach gear or in their Yukata that day.

Unlike Atami's, the festival held at Kamakura beach has all the street food stalls lined along the roads from the train station to the beach as well as along the beach and up little alleys that leads to the beach! I was eating non-stop when I hit the area! My husband and I had takoyaki, yakisoba, red candied apple on a stick (MUST TRY!), frozen fruits on a stick (MUST TRY TOO! You can choose between strawberries and pineapple or honeydew melon and mango, I went for honeydew melon and mango since I don't really like pineapples.), etc. They even have the ice shavings with syrup that I always wanted to try but always ended up too full to try.. (>~<)'

There were lots of people on the long stretch of beach.
The atmosphere for this festival was much more hyped up as the whole beach is filled with people sitting on mats. There are groups of friends, family, working man, high school kids still in their uniform, high school lovers in their uniforms too, couples of all ages in Yukatas, gaijins (foreigners, including me and my husband haha!). I didn't managed to go back to the hotel to change into a Yukata as the beach was filling up fast after strolling around in town. (T^T) We sat at the beach under the hot sun for about an hour and then another hour as the sun sets and then it hit 7pm and the first firework was shot out! The MC said some stuff in Japanese and we waited till it hit 7.20pm and then the show began...

Special fireworks that explode on the horizon of the sea.
Everyone was silent as they sat and appreciate the firework displays. This time, the fireworks display lasted for more than an hour and 30 mins! It was shot from boats in the middle of the sea and some of the fireworks were done on the horizon of the sea so you see a semi-circle just sitting on the edge of the sea. I still love the ones that goes so high up that when they explode it's like diamond dust falling towards you. They had so many designs like sunflowers, morning glory, hearts, rabbits and my favourite is the waterfall and the ones that looks like shooting stars falling down... AMAZING! If you ever visit Japan in the summer, please do not forget to check out the summer/fireworks festival! (Check out in advance as hotels tend to get fully booked by the Japanese very early!)

Semi-circle fireworks on edge of sea.

Here's another video, this is of the Kamakura fireworks!

I hope you've enjoyed yourself this summer with these fireworks. Would have loved to post up more videos... (>~<) Next time then!
Written by Sarah

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