Do you want to attend a colorful event where you can see hot air balloons flying in the sky? Come join the 2017 Saga International Balloon Fiesta! Happening on November 1 to 5, 2017, in Saga, Japan, this international competition will be participated by 15 countries flying more than 100 hot air balloons. Check it out!
The Saga International Balloon Fiesta started as a small ballooning event with only five hot air balloons in 1978 in Fukuoka Prefecture’s Amagi City. Later on, the event was moved to the outskirts of Saga City where it could accommodate a larger number of participants. It attracted many balloonists into the country who were eager to showcase their skills in flying hot air balloons.
Flying a hot air balloon requires a license. You also need to be aware of basic physics concepts such as knowing that hot air is lighter than cool air. Other important things to know include precision in steering the balloon, spotting a good landing zone, and descending slowly.
The Saga International Balloon Fiesta mostly consists of participatory events and balloon competitions which usually occur from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM and from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
Balloon launching is often started at riverbeds but they sometimes also fly over residential areas and towns. It is fun to watch the hot air balloons take off with the pilots waving their hands. Balloons can fly high up in the sky in just a matter of minutes!
A popular highlight of the festival is the “La Montgolfier Nocturne” where you can see around 50 lighted balloons across the Kasegawa riverbed. It’s definitely a fun sight to watch from a distance! Live bands also make the place entertaining as the evening draws closer.
If you’re interested in attending the festival, make sure to book a hotel in Saga in advance as most of the accommodations will be fully booked on those days.
From Saga Airport, it will take 30 minutes by bus going to Saga Station. From there, Balloon Saga Station on the JR Nagasaki Main Line is just five minutes away, and the event venue is a 10-minute walk.
If you happen to be in Saga this November 2017, don’t be surprised to see hot air balloons flying all over town. And if you’re planning to attend the event yourself, make sure to bring your coat to keep yourself warm since weather this time of year in Japan is cold. Enjoy the colorful event!