Many fireworks festivals are held in Niigata Prefecture, including the Nagaoka Festival Grand Fireworks Show which is one of "Japan's Top Three Fireworks Festivals". To help you make the most of Niigata, we've compiled a list of recommended events from fireworks festivals held in summer to fireworks launches in winter too!
*This article was written based on information from the time of each fireworks festival held each year, or from the most recent event.
*The event may be canceled or postponed due to weather. Please check the official website for the latest information.
*The images are from past events.
Niigata Fireworks Festival ①: The Nagaoka Festival Grand Fireworks Show
Niigata Prefecture is roughly divided into three regions, Joetsu, Chuetsu, and Kaetsu. Nagaoka City in the Chuetsu region is a large town straddling an area bordering the Sea of Japan and a snowy mountainous area.
The Nagaoka Festival Grand Fireworks Show is held every year on August 2nd and 3rd along the Shinano River that cuts through Nagaoka City.
About 20,000 fireworks are launched in two days in this large-scale event, attracting about 1 million spectaculars every year. The Nagaoka Festival Grand Fireworks Show is one of "Japan's Top Three Fireworks Festivals", along with Akita's National Fireworks Competition 'Omagari Hanabi' and Ibaraki's Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition. The reason for this is that it continues to fascinate people based on a comprehensive judgment, such as the fact that it is a historical competition that started in 1879, as well as the impressive & gorgeous fireworks.
The highlight of the Nagaoka Festival Grand Fireworks Show is the number of visually impactful fireworks. There is no doubt that you will be surprised by the overwhelming number of giant fireworks, such as the "Sho-sanshakudama", which has a flowering width of 650m in the sky, and the "Phoenix Fireworks Wishing for Complete Recovery", which has a width of about 2km.
Along the Shinano River, where you can watch the fireworks up close, there are paid seats that must be reserved in advance. Apply in advance as the online application period is limited (Japanese only). In 2023, sales have already ended with only paid seats.
Nagaoka Festival Grand Fireworks Show
- Venue: Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture, around the Shinano River riverbed, downstream of Chosei Bridge
- Date: August 2nd to 3rd every year
- Time: Around 19:20 - 21:10
- Access: About 30 minutes on foot from JR Nagaoka Station
- Official site: https://nagaokamatsuri.com/en/
Niigata Fireworks Festival ②: Gion Kashiwazaki Festival with large scale fireworks display over the ocean
Kashiwazaki City borders the Sea of Japan in the Chuetsu region. The "Gion Kashiwazaki Festival with large scale fireworks display over the ocean" is a summer tradition in Kashiwazaki held on July 26th every year, in which about 16,000 fireworks are launched over the course of an hour and a half. There are many people from outside the area visiting to see the fireworks here too.
As the name "large scale fireworks display over the ocean" suggests, it is characterized by a series of dynamic fireworks set in the Sea of Japan. In addition to the "Shakudama 100 Fireworks Simultaneous Launch" in which a hundred of fireworks are launched all at once from fireworks cylinders lined up along the 1,500m embankment, the highlight is the starmine over the sea surface. This is the display in which fireworks are launched into the sea to look like they are blooming on the sea horizon by blooming at the perfect timing. You can feel the skill of experienced pyrotechnicians in such a display here.
The "Gion Kashiwazaki Festival with large scale fireworks display over the ocean" has paid seats that are basically pre-registration required. The area around the paid viewing area and the area around the central beach is free, but you may not be able to get a good seat if you arrive at the last minute, as it is possible to reserve a spot from the morning of the day. Paid seating for 2023 has already sold out.
Gion Kashiwazaki Festival with large scale fireworks display over the ocean
- Venue: Central coast area of Nishiminato-cho, Kashiwazaki City, Niigata Prefecture
- Date: Every year on July 26th
- Time: Around 19:30 - 21:10
- Access: About 25 minutes on by walk from JR Kashiwazaki station
- Official site: https://www.city.kashiwazaki.lg.jp/kashiwazakihanabi/index.html
Niigata Fireworks Festival ③: Yuzawa Winter Fireworks
Yuzawa Town is home to Echigo Yuzawa Onsen, one of Niigata Prefecture's leading hot spring villages. Due to the large amount of snowfall in the area, there are many ski resorts, and in winter the area is crowded with people enjoying hot springs and skiing.
"Yuzawa Winter Fireworks" is an event unique to winter in Yuzawa Town. It is an event held mainly from December to March every year where ski resorts in the town set off fireworks over the ski slopes. It is held at popular ski resorts such as GALA Yuzawa Snow Resort, Yuzawa Kogen Ski Resort, and Naeba Ski Resort. The fireworks blooming on the white snow are worth seeing.
The contents and dates of the event differ depending on the ski resort. Please refer to each ski resort's website for the latest information.
Yuzawa Winter Fireworks
- Venue: At ski resorts in Yuzawa Town
- Date: Usually from December to March
- Time: Varies by ski resort
- Access: Varies by ski resort