How to enjoy Hanabi in Japan like a pro

Now before I begin, I must say I’m actually no hanabi expert… I am just sharing from the two times I have gone this summer 🙂 I went to the Yokohama and the Edogawa fireworks shows. Both were unique in their own ways. Yokohama had unique designs like smiley faces and hearts. Edogawa had bigger and brighter bouts of fireworks. I highly suggest you check our your local fireworks shows if you can!


I made a quick entry in my Midori Traveler’s Notebook. It is a bit hard to read so I wrote everything out below in detail! If you like these kinds of scrapbooking type journal entries, check out my crafty IG @craftyinwonderland  :]


What is hanabi? Hanabi translates to “fireworks.” During the summer holidays of July and August, cities around Japan host firework shows that are way bigger and brighter than the ones you may be used to in your home country. (This was true at least compared to my home country of USA.) People come dressed in their summer yukatas and wait patiently on their mats for the show to begin.

Japanese fireworkds are crazy! They have all kinds of unique designs and they are not afraid to go big. Best of all, it is free! But, there is a catch.

You must first battle the heat of Japan’s summer and the crowds. Once you get past it all, it is truly an amaing summer experience with friends and family.

Here are some tips I want to share with you to make your future hanabi experience more enjoyable.

  • Prepare yourself for crowds stampedes. They will be lots of people there no matter what. Even if you think you are arriving early, there are always going to be people who arrive earlier than you. There may be thousands of people at the same fireworks show you are planning to go to. Just remember to stay calm. Japanese people don’t normally push. When in Japan, do as the Japanese do. 13940047_10205280595893708_1374487591_o
  • Reserve your spot early in the morning. All the pro-hanabi spectators know to show up early and put down a tarp/mat with their name on it. This is actually the normal ting to do in Japan. You will see people show up at 10 am and leave just a mat (sometimes with their name taped on) in a specific area. They come back later in the day and no one will have taken their spot. Trust me on this one. It is worth doing for big groups!
  • Dress code: Yukata. lol kidding. Not everyone will show up wearing their yukata, but it is what many people will come dressed in. If you happen to just have a yukata, hanabi season is the perfect time to break it out and get your money’s worth. You will blend in and everyone will see your beautiful yukata designs.
  • Arrive early. If you haven’t already reserved a spot, you’ll want to arrive early so that you can at least find a place to sit and watch the fireworks show. If you have already reserved a spot, you’ll still want to arrive early because the late stragglers will be crowding around the back and it is harder to get past them when you arrive late. I’ve learned this the hard way. PLUS, you’ll want to arrive early because the trains start to get delayed even 3 hours before the show begins. Sometimes trains are even stopped. The earlier you arrive, the more pleasant your experience will be. 13987173_10205280595853707_368901073_o
  • Buy food and drinks ahead of time. There are going to be food and drink stalls obviously by the viewing areas, but the lines are insanely long! My friends decided to wait until they got to the viewing area and ended up in line for sausages for an hour…while I enjoyed my futomaki and yakisoba on the mat that we had reserved earlier in the morning. However, if waiting in long lines is your hobby, by all means, don’t let me tell stop you. (:
  • Don’t forget to bring enough plastic bags or trash bags. After all the food and snacks you eat, you have to collect your trash and bring it to designated areas. We must do as the Japanese do. There aren’t usually public trashcans around Japan, so they just carry their trash around until they find an appropriate place to throw away their trash. Please don’t litter. It is very rude. Plus the fireworks show is all free, we must do our part in cleaning up our mess.

13987261_10205280595933709_993141268_o.jpgFireworks iPhone photography protip: If you have an iPhone, you can actually shoot video and take photos at the same time! This has been the best method I accidentally discovered when I was playing around with my iPhone camera. How to: Start recording video of the fireworks. There will be another button that will allow you to take snapshots while recording. This method has worked so well for me because you don’t have to keep tapping your screen to focus or adjust the white balance. I have shared this tip with all my friends so far, and they have told me it works! The only problem is you have to have enough memory on your phone to save both the videos and photos. hehe.


Well, these are all the tips I can think of to make your next hanabi experiences more enjoyable!

Here is a link to the top 20 hanabi viewings in Japan! Hope this all helps!