Photo Story: The not-so-great Sumidagawa Fireworks

Well, what can I say. One of the biggest fireworks festivals in the country, certainly the most popular in Tokyo, took an unexpected turn. Here’s what went down…

Ryogoku Station

We arrived at a bustling Ryogoku Station at 5pm.

Blue skies

The skies were blue and promising.

Ready with our tarp

Ready with our sheet!

Zip Morning Television

Zip Morning Television interviewing some spectators.


Plenty of police for crowd and traffic control.

Ready to secure our spot

Getting ready to secure our spot on the road. The police closed off one lane at a time.

Talking tactics

Talking tactics. Who will take which corner of the sheet? Which direction will we run? We even discussed it over with our neighbours so we wouldn’t be stepping over each other! This is how it’s done in Japan.

The wait

The street has been closed off. Just waiting for 6pm sharp when the rope will be taken down! Everyone is on this side of the road as the other side is kept open as an emergency lane.

The result

As soon as the rope was removed, everyone dashed out onto the road. 10 seconds later, this was the result.

The result

Everyone wanted the centre of the road for the best view.

All settled

All settled. People as far as the eye can see, in both directions!

Happy and Excited

Happy and excited

Good times

Good times

So lucky to have this special feed

We were so lucky to have been invited to join another party with this special feed!!

Strawberry Chou Ice

Also got this Strawberry Chou Ice for free!

The first fireworks event started further up the river at 7:20pm.
The second fireworks event (that we were going to see), was due to start 10 minutes later.

At about 7:25pm, we started feeling sprinkles of rain.
About 1 minute later, the heavens opened!
The loudest thunder, the brightest lightning, and SO MUCH rain!

Everyone dashed for cover. Amazingly, the 7:30pm fireworks began on the dot, and everyone ran back out onto the street.

The Heavens opened

Everyone was quick to pack up their party, and take out the umbrellas (I guess some people were prepared!)

Sumidagawa Fireworks

It was awesome to see the fireworks lighting up one part of the sky – and lightning lighting up the rest!! Spectacular!

Braving the Rain

Braving the rain. Sheets turned into covers!

Taking Cover

It just got heavier and heavier. After a couple of minutes, everyone gave up and dashed under buildings, taking cover.

At about 7:40pm, there was an announcement… “The Sumidagawa Fireworks have been CANCELLED”. 

The rain was so heavy we decided to stay under cover and wait it out. About 40 minutes later, the storm finally calmed down and we went on our way.  

We will be back with a vengeance next year!


One thought on “Photo Story: The not-so-great Sumidagawa Fireworks

  1. 豪雨(ごうう)を もたらす 雷(かみなり)を ともなった 嵐(あらし)は 日本の 夏の天候(てんこう)としては、めずらしいようです。。熱帯地帯(ねったいちたい)の 夏のようです。
    たくさんの人が、花火大会を あんなに 待ち望(まちのぞ)んでいたのに とても がっかりしたことでしょう。それでも、シューアイスクリームや おいしい料理を 食べれて、よかったですね。 花火のお花見宴会(えんかい)のようで、とても たのしそうに 見えました。


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