In 1733, the shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune held Japan’s first aerial display along the Sumida River to dispel evil spirits, and comfort the souls of the 1 million cholera epidemic victims.
By the 1960s, Japan was annually shipping ¥1.5 billion of fireworks overseas. Then, in the 1970s the Chinese government eased restrictions and fireworks became one of the country’s first major exports – today controlling 90 percent of the international market.
Which is why viewing fireworks – hanabi – in Japan is a special occasion that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world. This weekend head to Edogawa to watch a grand display that would make Tokugawa Yoshimune – and the souls of 1 million cholera victims – proud.
In the first five seconds of this festival 1,000 fireworks are launched into the sky. From there the theme changes every 10 minutes, with eight themes in total. Spectators can watch the show on the riverbanks of both Tokyo and Chiba, so arrive early for a good spot.
©Yumi Hotta,Takeshi Obata/SHUEISHA ©Tsugumi Ohba ･ Takeshi Obata/SHUEISHA
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Image via Itabashi Hanabi Taikai
In addition to 90 minutes of non-stop fireworks this festival also features a special 700m-long Niagara Falls fireworks wall, making it one of Tokyo’s must-see hanabi spectaculars.
(C) Daido Moriyama photo foundation Courtesy of Akio Nagasawa Gallery
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Courtesy of Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd.
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