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Fireworks in Japan

July 18th, 2005

Summer is the season for fireworks in Japan. Unlike the U.S., where almost all firework shows are reserved for one day in July, Japan has them all summer long. Better this way, I think–you can go see them more.

Japanese firework shows are also pretty impressive; they really know their stuff here. Though this season’s shows seem be be relatively short, an hour or so for most of them, I’ve seen shows an hour and a half and even longer in the past. And they don’t scrimp, either–some pretty good displays get put on. One of their trademark moves is the shaped fireworks: hearts, stars, smiley faces, fish, and even Mickey Mouse and Doraemon appear in the lights in the sky. Usually, the show ends in one, long, continuous culmination of explosions, climbing higher and higher, with one really big one at the very end. Forgive me if this sounds mundane to you, if you’ve seen it a lot; I don’t have much experience beyond my childhood to compare these shows to others in other countries.

Tonight there were a few well-known shows, one in Yokohama (a bit of a trek from where I am, so I didn’t go), and one right in my backyard, at the Fuchu Racetrack–though I always neglect this one for some reason. Every year, there’s a display where all I have to do is walk a few blocks and I’ve got a great view, and every year I forget to check when it is. And then I’m watching TV and I hear some booms outside, and I realize it’s on. The problem is, this one particular show is only about a half hour, maybe a shade more. By the time I get there, there’s only ten or so minutes left. But here are a few photos that came out OK:





Always pretty, they are.

A few more displays are coming up in this area. Next Saturday, the Chofu City fireworks, which I blogged on last year; I can see them from my apartment window, but they’re better viewed up close, a few stations away. The Saturday after that, there’s a display at Show Kinen Park in Tachikawa. Lots more in the area, too; here’s a page in Japanese, another in English. (Be careful: there are discrepancies between the pages in terms of which day some displays are, and I don’t know which page is right!)

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  1. Jack young
    July 28th, 2006 at 23:55 | #1


    I was stationed at Fuchu Racetrack with the 8th Cav. Regiment in 1946 and 47. Just yesterday I was looking at some pics.,taken while I was there, and can’t believe the changes that have been made at the track. I had a good friend who worked with the horses there. I have a picture of him with his name written in Japenese on the back. Any ideas as to how I might use it to locate him? and any coments on the track would be appreciated.

    Thanks for your time


  2. Luis
    July 29th, 2006 at 01:22 | #2


    Boy, finding a person in Japan from a name and a work location from 60 years ago… That’d be tough. This person would probably not be on a web site nor would he likely be looking at English ones… They’re almost certainly retired now, if they are still alive and kicking. Could be anywhere in Japan at this point.

    I am afraid I wouldn’t know what to do to find this person, and I’m right here. Sorry…

    As for the race track, it’s now a very popular weekend spot, as horse racing is one of the only legal places where people can gamble in Japan. There’s a lot of traffic throughout the area on weekends because of it, and the entire area has traffic guards standing on street corners then. I haven’t been to the track itself, but here’s a (badly) translated version of the Japanese Wikipedia page, with a few photos. There’s even a train station just for the racetrack.

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