Thursday, 19 July 2012

A dazzling display to excite the senses

They say that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, then, how many words do you think the photo here is worth? Too many to count, I reckon.

It would be futile to try to describe a fireworks display in Japan, for they are just something that you have to experience. They don’t come any more famous or incredible than the annual Sumida River Fireworks Festival in Tokyo. This year’s festival will be taking place soon on July 28 (Sunday).

A fixed feature of the Japanese summer going back to the Edo Period (1603-1868), hanabi or fireworks displays take place throughout the Japanese archipelago. Almost entirely free – except for some seating in stands located closest to the action – they are often enjoyed by tens of thousands of people.

The Sumida River Fireworks Festival started in 1732 as part of the festivals for the dead. By the mid-Edo period it became a competition to see which guild of firework engineers, either Tamaya or Kagiya, could impress the onlookers the most. Back then people would shout out the name of the guild whose fireworks they were most impressed with while watching the fireworks.

The popularity has increased over time so that now almost 1 million people gather on the banks of the river to enjoy this spectacular display. This year will see a total of 20,000 fireworks shot up towards the heavens.

In addition to all the colours that fill the nighttime sky are varying hues that you see closer to terra firma. Many women get dressed up for the occasion by wearing brightly coloured yukata (summer kimono), obi (belts) and geta (wooden clogs) – not to mention arming themselves with big fans to battle the summer heat.

Free, beautiful and oodles of fun, the Sumida River Fireworks Display is an event that no visitor to Tokyo should miss. Although time is short, Unique Japan Tours is here to help arrange a holiday in Japan that would allow you to experience this summer spectacular.


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