We moved to Japan exactly two months before the Great East Japan Earthquake. The ensuing aftermath, including the disaster at the nuclear power station in Fukushima, meant that the majority of festivities and celebrations were cancelled throughout the eastern region of Japan. It's been quite difficult since then, to know what "typical" festivities occur around the area throughout the year. I think we've finally got it nailed down.
A good friend of mine, whom I met in Manchester many years ago, invited us to a house party and BBQ close to the Ichikawa district east of Tokyo in Chiba prefecture. The plan was to eat and drink, and then see the fireworks on display further up Edogawa.
I should have expected it really. The Japanese do not do things by halves. This was the largest, loudest, and longest firework display I've ever seen in my life. The first set went up at around 19:15, and ran through constantly until 20:30. After each cluster, the crowd of thousands would cheer and applaud.
All festivals in Japan have one thing in common; market stalls. They seemingly spring up out of nowhere, serving hot food and ice-cold drinks in abundance.
Fireworks are tricky customers to photograph. This festival actually marks my first attempt at firework photography. It was hard balancing aperture and shutter speed, and most crucially timing .
I took a [not-so-] brief video of the fireworks, just for my archives, but I'll place it here in case you'd like to watch [~ 5 min]
Thousands of people turned up. There were even 20+ boats in the river! I have no idea how many people lined the riverbanks, but the applause, "oohs" and "ahhs", filled the summer air. The weather was fantastic. Britain isn't known for firework displays, and its main "bonfire night" is on the 5th of November, which means cold weather, and probably rain. Urgh. The Japanese have it right. Huge firework displays in the summer, where you can watch in late-evening summer heat, with an ice cold beer in hand.