Lantern Floating and the Great Fireworks Display are the features of a special event on 16 August on the Matsubara Coast in Matsushima-cho, Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture.
These festivities began in 1950 (Showa 25) during the Bon Festival season of the lunar calendar, and were held to appease the spirits of those who had died in the war.
Various fireworks, such as water fireworks and 'star-mines' are set off against the scenic backdrop of Kehi-no-Matsubara. The Great Fireworks Display is the largest-class of fireworks display held along the Sea of Japan coast. 12,000 fireworks are set off in a dynamic show.
At the same time as the fireworks, 6,000 red, blue, and yellow lanterns are set afloat from the Matsubara Coast, while sutras are chanted by monks.
In recent years, lasers and sound systems have been added as massive settings and configurations to the festival. The pyrotechnics begin with bottle rockets and finish with special character fireworks and other elaborate fireworks.
Lantern Floating and the Great Fireworks Display create a harmony between water, light and sound. It is a solemn, even mystic, event.
The Sanuki Takamatsu Festival, held in Takamatsu, is the representative festival of Kagawa Prefecture, and one of Shikoku's 4 major festivals.
This festival is the most popular in Takamatsu, and features a dance known as Sou-Odori as its main event. In Sou-Odori, 4000 people participate in the Takamatsu Dance and the Sanuki Dance in Chuo Park.
Festivities are further enlivened by local performing arts, parades, and Udon noodle-eating contests known as the Udon-lympics!
The climax of this festival is one of the largest fireworks displays in Western Japan. 5,000 fireworks are set off, filling the night sky with colorful sparkling lights.
The Sanuki Takamatsu Festival is a big event filled with festive fun.
The Otaru Ushio Festival was inititated in 1967 (Showa 42) in the hope of preserving the history, culture and further development of Otaru, Hokkaido.
The festival is held aroud Otaru Bay for three days on the last weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun) of July. More than a million people from Hokkaido and from outside visit the festival at this time. Ushio chochin lanterns featuring wave patterns are displayed throughout Otaru and the city fills with excitement as the festival begins.
On the second day of the festival, 5,000 dancers from Hokkaido and outside Hokkaido participate in the Ushio-nerikomi parade. The dancers move in time with the rhythm of the Ushio-Ondo, and the parade stirs up more festival excitement.
Meanwhile, various events are held elsewhere in the city, such as the local Ushio taiko drums perfomance. The drums create a rich and enjoyable rhythm. The final day of the festival features a display of 2,500 fireworks set off into the beautiful night sky of the Otaru Bay, marking a spectacular culmination to the festival.
This festival shows a local appreciation of the sea and Otaru's hope for the city's continued development. The afterglow of festival excitement does not disappear for a long time
Sendai Tanabata Festival is one of Tohoku's four major festivals, which include Aomori Nebuta, Akita Kanto and Amagata Hanagasa festivals.
Sendai Tanabata Festival is not a traditional local festival because it has taken place in various places since the Edo period. It is said that it the festival was beloved by the clan patriarch, Date Masamune.
Following the adoption of the Western calendar in the Meiji period, the festival diminished year by year. But in 1927, volunteer merchants revived it to shake off the economic recession at that time. It is said that children who saw the spectacle, applauded for a long time after it. Sendai Tanabata Festival deteriorated during the war in the early 20th century and did not take its present shape until after 1926.
Karakasa firework displays are held at Otori Shrine in Tsuchiura. In these displays, fireworks are set off from 'karakasa' umbrellas made from oiled paper. These giant umbrellas measure 5m in both height and diameter.
A 100m-long rope acts as a fuse to carry the spark that sets off the actual fireworks, which are set on a box called 'yatsuguchi' on top of the karakasa. The fireworks in turn send sparks which then light a series of lanterns hung around the circumference of the karakasa. After that, the sparks are the main feature of the moment called 'te-botan' ('hand peony'), when the sparks appear to fall from the umbrella like raindrops. This beautiful display lasts for about 7 minutes. Legend has it that this firework display began as a prayer for rain by farmers who were suffering from drought.
Under the karakasa is a lantern with the words 'productive crops'. When the fireworks of the karakasa have finished, bottle rockets are fired into the night sky and the festival ends.
Mikawa Fireworks are a traditional industry of Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture. Fireworks first began to be made when gunpowder became openly available during the Edo period. The making of firearms developed here in Okazaki and soon evolved into the production of fireworks.
The first fireworks entered Japan when the King of England presented them as a gift to the Shogun in Edo during the 1600s. On the night of August 6th, 1613, Hidetada, the second Shogun of Edo, set off the fireworks to welcome guests. Soon after, many fireworks were made and displayed, but much time was still needed to perfect the methods and skills of its production. Due to the many injuries caused by fireworks, they were once banned by the government.
Some of the most famous Mikawa Fireworks are the sea-based displays and the goldfish fireworks. The first fireworks display to take place in Mikawa was part of a festival held in 1948. The Okazaki Fireworks Display, as it is now known, is still held annually today.
Tezutsu ('hand-tube') hanabi are fireworks consisting of a large bamboo cylinder that is held in the hands and fired. Smokeless black gunpowder fires out from the top of the tube opening. The main tube of the firework is hollowed out from a green bamboo about 10cm in diameter and 70~80cm long. Hemp rope is twined around it.
The origin of tezutsu hanabi is believed to be the 'noroshi', which was a form of communication by beacons in the Civil War period. With the introduction of black gunpowder and the gun, noroshi improved greatly. In 1700 (Ganroku 13), was being described as the 'giant noroshi'. It is considered that 'noroshi' had developed well enough by that time, to be appreciated more as a firework, than as smoke communication. Later, tezutsu hanabi were used as a form of prayer at festivals for bumper crops.
The gigantic column of flame shooting out from the tezutsu hanabi is vigorous, mesmerizing the viewer with its thrilling sound and light like an Ukiyo-e print.