In Japan’s summertime spectacular fireworks displays are held all across the country. Here are two of the best in the Kansai area.
The Lake Biwa fireworks festival is an amazing fireworks display held in Otsu each year, just two stops away from Kyoto station. The most popular place to watch the fireworks from is in Otsu itself though the fireworks are set off over Lake Biwa so they are visible from a lot of viewing spots along the lake shore.
If you watch the fireworks from Otsu city you just need to head downhill from the station towards the lake and there is a free viewing area along the shore. You simply need to find yourselves a spot and lay out your plastic sheets to sit on and get ready to enjoy the show while enjoying some festival food from one of the many stalls lining the way down from the train station. Make sure to get there in plenty of time though as it gets very busy and you may struggle to get a spot. We went in the afternoon and waited all afternoon just to be safe. When the show finishes, getting back to the train station can take a long time due to the crowds so I’d recommend taking a few extra drinks and enjoying the summer evening by the lake for a while before heading back or you’ll be queueing down the road for ages!
This is Osaka’s biggest fireworks festival which is held over the Yodo river and is usually held the same week as the fireworks at Lake Biwa, just before Obon in August. The nearest station is Juso, on the Hankyu train line. There are a number of different paid seating options available but there’s plenty of spots nearby where you can see the display. If you have friends in the area you might even be lucky enough to be invited to one of the many rooftop parties held to watch the fireworks.
Both of these events are extraordinary and worth catching. Thousands of fireworks light up the sky and as well as the usual rockets and explosions you’ll see fireworks in the shape of hearts, faces and even sometimes cute Japanese characters like Hello Kitty or Doraemon! That would be a perfect summer night’s out!