Fantasy in the night sky – Enjoy fireworks in Japan!

Why are Japanese fireworks beautiful?

The foremost feature of Japanese fireworks is that they form a beautiful circular shape. With a booming sound, petals of sparks radially spread from the center. This is because Japanese fireworks are designed with circles, whereas many others are in column shape. The beautiful circle of fireworks is created by regularly arranging gunpowder balls called “stars” inside a sphere.

Fireworks yielding circles

Leisure fireworks started in the early 17th century in Japan. Like other countries, Japanese fireworks started with column shapes, but it is said that spherical fireworks techniques were developed in the late 19th century. This production method has influenced various evolutions to Japanese fireworks; for example, it made it possible to make fireworks in complex shapes, such as the shape of Saturn or a heart, through the arrangement of gunpowder balls. These developments of gunpowder formulas also added unusual colors such as lemon yellow or marine blue to the fireworks.

Fireworks in lemon yellow and marine blue

The recent significant evolution in fireworks is the technique to change colors. That enables the colors change in the middle of explosion, or show the color again after disappearance. Fireworks enthusiasts go to fireworks displays expecting to see new shapes and colors each year.

Check out the work of fireworks professionals!

Fireworks have a short lifespan of about five seconds from the time they are fired until they disappear into the sky. Pyro technicians spend several months producing fireworks just for this moment. Let’s see the firework production process of Niigata Pyrotechnics Corporation, one of the leading fireworks studios in Japan.

1. Blending gunpowder

Process 1

An oxidizing agent and chemicals are added to the gunpowder. The color of the firework is determined by the composition of these substances.

2. Making “stars”

Process 2

The blended gunpowder is dissolved with water and starch, and made into a liquid. Then, this gunpowder liquid is poured over a core material such as a rapeseed in a rotating pot and drying it to form a layer. After repeating this process, it becomes gunpowder balls called stars. One piece of a star makes one petal of a firework. A star is an important element that determines the appearance of the firework, and it requires a high level of skill to make stars that are uniform in size.

3. Packing gunpowder

Process 3

Dried stars are arranged in a semi-globular paper bowls, to which fuses are attached, and the gunpowder is packed into the inside of the starts for detonating the bowls in the air. Two semi-globular bowls are combined to make one ball.

4. Reinforcing firework balls

Process 4

Reinforcing balls packed with gunpowder with craft paper.

5. Drying

Process 5

The firework balls are complete after the gunpowder balls are thoroughly dried in the dry room.

6. Installing the cylinders for firing the fireworks

Process 6

The cylinders for firing fireworks and the shooting devices are installed in specified positions. This process is carried out carefully because the fireworks may not fire as planned or an accident may occur if there is a mistake during this process.

Enjoy the latest collections of fireworks! Information on the fireworks competitions in Japan

Although many fireworks shows are held in summer in Japan, competitions for professional pyro technicians compete are held from spring through fall. Enjoy latest fireworks techniques that pyro technicians dedicate their knowledge and skills!

Ise Shrine dedication national fireworks (Ise, Mie)

Ise Shrine dedication national fireworks

Ise Shrine dedication national fireworks event is one of the three major fireworks competitions in Japan, with a more than 60 years of history. You can enjoy about 10,000 creative fireworks by the best pyro technicians from all over Japan.

Ise Shrine dedication national fireworks

Date: July 18, 2015, 7:20 pm – 9:15 pm

Address: Ise City, Mie, Miya River bank

Access: A special shuttle bus is available from JR or Kintetsu Iseshi Station and Kintetsu Ujiyamada Station.5 to 20 minutes on foot from the bus stop to the venue (depending on the viewing location).

The Chunichi Newspaper Nagara River All-Japan Fireworks Festival(Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture)

The Chunichi Newspaper Nagara River All-Japan Fireworks Festival
(c) Chunichi Shimbun Co., Ltd.

A total of approximately 30,000 shots of fireworks are displayed, including traditional fireworks and the newest fireworks. The large-scale fireworks at the climax are unforgettable views.

The Chunichi Newspaper Nagara River All-Japan Fireworks Festival

Date: July 25, 2015 12:00 noon – 7:00 pm (day), 7:20 pm – 8:45 pm (night)

Address: Gifu City, Gifu, Nagara River bank

Access: Shuttle bus available from JR Gifu Station and Meitetsu Gifu Station (4:00 pm – )

Akagawa Fireworks Display (Tsuruoka, Yamagata)

Akagawa Fireworks Display
(c) 花火.Collection

Top-rated pyro technicians in Japan compete with their design techniques. Approximately 12,000 shots of fireworks are displayed. Thanks to the open river bank terrain, fireworks are shot up to the maximum height of 700 meter (2,300 ft.).

Akagawa Fireworks Display

Date: August 15, 2015, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Address: Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Aka River bank (Mikawa Bridge – Haguro Bridge)

Access: 20 minutes on foot from JR Tsuruoka Station. A special fixed-route bus is available from JR Tsuruoka Station

National New Fireworks Competition (Suwa, Nagano)

National New Fireworks Competition
(c) Suwa City Tourist Association

Approximately 18,000 shots of avant-garde fireworks, created by 25 new pyro technicians selected from all over Japan, are displayed alongside music.

National New Fireworks Competition

Date: September 5, 2015, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (scheduled)

Address: Suwa City, Nagano, Kamisuwa Hotsprings by Lake Suwa

Access: Eight minutes on foot from JR Kaimi-Suwa Station

Yatsushiro National Fireworks Festival (Yatsushiro, Kumamoto)

Yatsushiro National Fireworks Festival

This is the only national fireworks competition in the western Japan. About 30 major pyro technicians compete with their skills. Musical fireworks, in which fireworks are displayed along music, are very popular displays. About 12,000 shots of spectacular fireworks entertain the crowd.

Yatsushiro National Fireworks Festival

Date: October 17, 2015, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Address: Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto Kuma River Green Area

Access: 10 minutes on foot from JR Yatsushiro Station