Simply Spectacular! 5 Must-See Firework Displays in Ibaraki
Firework displays are popular events and a major summer attraction in Japan. Ibaraki Prefecture hosts several festivals where you can enjoy splendid fireworks. The venues are also easily accessible from Tokyo. This includes the Tsuchiura Fireworks Competition, considered one of Japan's three major firework displays. Below, we will introduce five Ibaraki firework displays that shouldn't be missed.
The Features of Firework Displays in Ibaraki
Ibaraki is surrounded by vast bodies of water, including the Pacific Ocean and Tone River, Japan’s largest river. You can enjoy magnificent aerial fireworks with the ocean and river in the backdrop. When combined with other sights like plum blossoms in spring, some firework displays have a unique ambiance unlike anywhere else. Some events feature fireworks in quirky shapes and colors, thanks to the many famous local firework companies showcasing their craftsmanship. The following are five firework displays that are especially popular in the area.
1. Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition
This event is held near JR Tsuchiura Station in Tsuchiura City, located in southern Ibaraki Prefecture. The firework competition has been an annual tradition since 1925 and is one of Japan’s three major firework events.
Due to its popularity, the competition usually brings over 800,000 visitors to the area yearly. We recommend getting paid box seats for those interested in seeing the fireworks from the best position. Be sure to reserve yours early because there is a rush to buy seats each year.
As its name implies, the Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition was originally an event for firework production companies to showcase their skills and compete with each other. The competition has three categories based on the type of fireworks: Starmine (*), shell size ten, and creative fireworks. Over 60 nationwide firework production companies launch around 25,000 fireworks, including some of their latest creations.
You can hear a mix of astonishment and wonder from the crowd during this colorful 2.5-hour firework display.
*Since several fireworks are launched simultaneously, there may be a time lag of a few seconds.
- Sakura River Embankment
- Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/jTEuWN1rHL8XAFL7A
- 2.5 kilometers from Tsuchiura Station on the JR Joban Line; 70 minutes by regular train or 45 minutes by limited express from Ueno Station.
- Business Hours
- Second half of October (November 5, 2022 (Sat))
- 029-826-1111 (Japanese)
2. Komon Festival Kairakuen Firework Show
This popular firework show is held in Mito City, the prefectural capital of Ibaraki, and is visited by 300,000 people annually.
The venue is located on the shores of Lake Senba near Kairakuen, which is ranked among Japan’s three famous gardens. The fireworks reflected over Lake Senba, which has a three-kilometer circumference spanning 332 square meters, are nicknamed “inverted fireworks.” It is hands-down an exceptional display.
Approximately 7,000 fireworks are launched during the event. Enjoy various fireworks cleverly designed by Nomura Fireworks, Japan’s top pyrotechnicians. Several stalls can be found along the shore, and the one-hour fireworks show will pass like a dream.
The extra-large Music Starmine marks the show’s finale. This firework display showcases the latest technology while synchronized with music, inducing excited cheers from the audience. Paid box seats are also available for visitors. Check out the show’s website if you want to watch the fireworks in comfort!
- Mito City, Lake Senba
- Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/7bnyF7yGuiTLdwjr6
- 15-minute walk from JR Mito Station's South Exit
- Business Hours
- Late July (October 22, 2022 (Sat))
- 029-224-0441 (Japanese)
3. Tone River Firework Festival
This large-scaled firework festival is held on the banks of the Tone River, one of Japan’s three major rivers near Tokyo.
A spectacular display of 30,000 fireworks is set off during the event. This is a rare opportunity to watch a joint performance by Nomura Fireworks, Ibaraki’s most famous pyrotechnicians, Yamazaki Fireworks Factory, and the nationally renowned Beniya Aoki Fireworks—all in one festival!
The festival’s highlight is the numerous fireworks launched in sync with the music. The Starmine fireworks are a dazzling showcase, turning the night sky into its stage. Paid box seats are also available, so check out the official website ahead of time.
There are several fun activities to enjoy in addition to the fireworks. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival held events with famous artists and had over 130 unique booths lining the streets.
Sakai, the festival venue, is a historical town that once flourished as a logistics hub on the Tone River. Visit this spectacular firework festival, reminiscent of the town’s lively history. You’ll undoubtedly enjoy the charms of summer in Japan to your heart’s content.
- Tone River, Sakai Riverside Park
- Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/MNX72q8hd6uHecLb9
- (Train) Forty minutes by bus bound for Kashinoeki Sakai from JR Koga Station or Tobu-dobutsu-koen Station.
Get off at Kashinoeki Sakai, then walk for three minutes to the venue.
(Bus) Get off at Kashinoeki Sakai from Tobu-dobutsu-koen on the Tobu Nikko Line, then walk for three minutes to reach the venue.
Take the bus from JR Koga Station, get off at Kashinoeki Sakai, and then walk for three minutes to the venue.
- Business Hours
- Mid-July (September 17, 2022 (Sat))
4. Oarai Marine Fireworks Festival
This fireworks festival takes place in Oarai, a sightseeing town with several attractions, including the gorgeous Oarai Isosaki Shrine and Aqua World Ibaraki Oarai Aquarium.
The festival’s highlight is the contrast between the sprawling ocean and fireworks. The event consists of 6,000 large fireworks adorning the summer night sky and shimmering sea. This includes ten successive rounds of the Shakudama (*), Big Starmine, Wide Starmine, and two Shakudama exploding like large blooming flowers. The finale also features the Music Starmine, which is set off in sync with catchy tunes!
The scent of the sea and the sounds of the waves are fitting for a summer night. It’ll feel amazing just sitting comfortably by the beach and looking up at the fireworks.
Oarai is home to several seafood restaurants where you can eat fresh catches from the sea. Enjoy a day spent sightseeing and tasting gourmet seafood, then head to watch the fireworks.
*The fireworks measure about 30 centimeters in diameter and explode across a considerable range when launched into the sky.
- Oarai Sun Beach
- Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/WoQrJZRuynk4H2SAA
- 15-minute walk from Oarai Station on the Kashima Rinkai Railway
- Business Hours
- Early October (October 1, 2022 (Sat))
- 029-267-5111 Oarai Town Commerce, Industry, and Tourism Division
5. Kashima City Fireworks
This firework display is held in Kitaura next to Lake Kasumigaura, the second largest lake in Japan.
The Kashima City Fireworks features 10,000 fireworks launched from the lake. The peaceful lake and dazzling display create a gorgeous sight when the fireworks reflect on the water like a mirror.
Kashima City is also home to Kashima Shrine, the oldest shrine in eastern Japan. The red torii gates erected in the lake form a mystical atmosphere. Moreover, the sight of the lake, fireworks, and torii gates cannot be seen anywhere else. This must-see firework display is one of Ibaraki’s most photogenic events.
Compared to other firework festivals, it is not overly crowded and offers a comfortable view. If you plan on watching the Kashima City Fireworks, we recommend visiting Kashima Shrine beforehand. Experience the history of Kashima Shrine, then admire the spectacular night display of the lake, torii gates, and fireworks.
- Ofunatsu, Lake Kitaura
- Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/peSPo7hxeSahsfcy7
- Shuttle bus from JR Kashima-Jingu Station
- Business Hours
- Autumn 2022
- 0299-82-7730 Kashima City Tourist Association