Summer Festivals: Adachi Fireworks

It’s that time of the year again: FESTIVAL SEASON! Nothing says summer in Japan more than fireworks displays, colourful yukata, beer gardens, awa dances, Obon and Tanabata!! It’s the party season, i.e. the best time to get out with your friends and enjoy life!

Kicking off my new “summer festivals” series is a fireworks festival by the name of Adachi no Hanabi.

The Adachi Fireworks is Tokyo’s first major summer fireworks festival of the year. It takes place on the Arakawa River for an audience of roughly 610,000. This year, it was on Saturday July 19.

I got together with two friends, all of us excited to be wearing our yukata (summer kimono), and headed out to Kitasenju in northern Tokyo. Just as our train pulled up at the station, the worst possible thing happened: it started to rain. I was afraid it would be a repeat of the Sumidagawa Fireworks last year, which got cancelled because of a storm. With our fingers crossed, we decided to brave the wind and rain and make a dash for the riverbank. However, Mother Nature had other plans, and the rain got stronger and stronger. We got about half way and were forced to take refuge in a bicycle parking lot. There was still 20 minutes left until the fireworks were to start, and we were just praying the rain would stop. It eventually died down enough for us to keep going. No matter what, we were going to get to that river!

By the time we got to the site, the rain was pouring again and we were drenched. It was almost funny. We had been so excited for this night, and just like that, it looked like it would be all over before it even started. The view of the riverbank was a pretty sad sight! The rain had sent everyone running for cover under a big bridge, and left the area almost deserted.

7:30pm came, and astonishingly, the first fireworks was shot up in the air. Forgetting about the cold rain, people excitedly rushed out from under the bridge. I almost wanted to cheer out loud! And what was even more awesome, about 15 minutes in, the rain stopped completely and it turned out to be a great fireworks display! What a tease, Mother Nature!

Up next: Shinjuku Eisa Festival

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