Tokyo apartments for rent and house rental listings and information especially for expatriates, provided by KEN.

TOKYO EXPAT'S LIFE GUIDE AND TIPS

To enjoy living in Tokyo, there are things you need to know. Public services, utilities, where to shop, recreation spots and etc.
Here we provide you with guides and tips to live in Tokyo.

Obon and Fireworks around Tokyo

Obon

Obon (お盆) is an annual Buddhist event for commemorating one's ancestors. In Japan, it is believed that each year during obon, the ancestors' spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives. During this period, traditionally obon dances (bon odori) are performed; graves of ancestors are visited by relatives.

The period of Obon is from 13th to 15th of August, and since many companies take vacation for about a week before or after that, it is called “Obon holiday”. It is one of the three major holiday seasons in Japan alongside New Year and Golden Week. Due to the peak of Obon travel season, accommodation charges will increase and transportation will also be crowded.

Fireworks

It is said that fireworks have been originally launched for the repose of the souls during the period of Obon. It is called “Okuribon” since“Okuribi”; the bonfire lit on the last day of Bon festival, is lit up on 16th to send back ancestral spirits. Originally fireworks were for sending ancestral spirits back, but there is a history that has grown up to the main event of the summer admiration. We will introduce you main fireworks festivals near Tokyo.

* Please note that the dates will be changed for the 2020 fireworks festivals, which will coincide with the Olympic Games.

Fireworks Festivals around Tokyo
1. Sumidagawa Firework Festival
photo:Sumidagawa Firework Festival

Tokyo’s biggest firework festival with a long history which can be traced back to the year 1733. You can see over 20,000 fireworks with the Tokyo Sky Tree, the tallest tower in the world. 5 minutes walk from Asakusa station.

Date :
Schedule for the end of July(*In 2020, it is scheduled on 11th of July)
Area :
Around Asakusa, Taito-ku
Fireworks :
About 20000 displayed
2. Tachikawa Firework Festival

Tokyo’s biggest firework festival with a long history which can be traced back to the year 1733. You can see over 20,000 fireworks with the Tokyo Sky Tree, the tallest tower in the world. 5 minutes walk from Asakusa station.

Date :
Schedule for the end of July
Area :
Showa Kinen Park, Tachikawa-city
Fireworks :
About 5000 displayed
3. Hachioji Firework Festival

This event is a small one, with 3,500 fireworks brightening the skies above Fujimori Park, 15 minutes away from Nishi-Hachioji Station.

Date :
Schedule for the end of July
Area :
Daiwa House Stadium Hachioji. Hachioji-city
Fireworks :
About 3500 displayed
4. Koto Fireworks Festival

About 4,000 fireworks are launched from a barge on the Arakawa River. Because the event is held on a weekday the venue is a little less crowded than at other firework festivals in Tokyo.

Date :
Scheduled at the beginning of August(*In 2020, it is scheduled on 6th of June)
Area :
Arakawa Sunamachi Riverside Park, Arakawa-ku
Fireworks :
About 4000 displayed
5. Itabashi Firework Festival

photo:Itabashi Firework Festival

One of Tokyo’s biggest firework events with 12,000 fireworks launched over the course of 90 minutes. Reserved seating available.

Date :
Scheduled at the beginning of August(*In 2020, it is scheduled on 31st of May)
Area :
Arakawa-riverbed, Itabashi-ku
Fireworks :
About 12000 displayed
6. Edogawa Fireworks Festival

One of the more enjoyable of Tokyo’s many summer fireworks events as the flat plains of the river banks provide ample seating.

Date :
Scheduled at the beginning of August(*In 2020, it is scheduled on 23rd of May.)
Area :
Edogawa-riverbed, Edogawa ku
Fireworks :
About 14000 displayed
7. Jingu- Gaien Fireworks Festival

One of the few firework events to be held in central Tokyo. Spectators can watch from the surrounding streets, but there is also the option to purchase seating for the rugby stadium, softball ground, main baseball stadium (Jingu Stadium), and nearby Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Date :
Scheduled at the beginning of August(*Date for 2020 is to be announced.)
Area :
Jingu Gaien, Shinuku-ku
Fireworks :
About 10000 displayed
8. Kita Hanabi Taikai

Paid seating is available for ¥1,000 upwards, but of course, there is plenty of space a little further away from the launch venue where you can see the fireworks for free.

Date :
Scheduled at the beginning of September
Area :
Arakawa-riverbed, Kuta-ku
Fireworks :
About 8888 displayed
9. Tamagawa Fireworks Festival

A mid-sized firework event held along the banks of the Tama River near Futakotamagawa Station.

Date :
Scheduled at the beginning of October
Area :
Futako-Tamagawa Sports Ground, Setagaya-ku
Fireworks :
About 6000 displayed
Tips to Enjoy Fireworks Festivals More

Here are few points to make your firework experience a more memorable one.

1. Check event dates beforehand.

Go to the event website for more updated information. Please note that events can be cancelled due to bad weather.

2. Try to find best seats

It doesn’t have to be the seat closest to the fireworks but it should be a seat where you can sit comfortably and watch the whole event without anything blocking your sight.

3. Try to wear a yukata

Wearing a summer kimono, yukata will allow you to truly experience the summer festival and taste the culture. These days you will be able to buy or rent yukata for affordable prices.

4. Bring a fan and a leisure seat with you.

Although the events are taken place at night, the summer days and nights in Japan are really hot and humid. To keep yourself cool, you will need to bring a fan with you.

And it will be difficult to stand throughout the whole event, so it is better to bring a picnic mat along.

5. Remember to get insect repellent beforehand.

When summer comes, it brings mosquitoes along with it. Use a mosquito repellent to avoid discomfort during the event.

6. Do not miss the food stalls.

Try to go to the location earlier and enjoy simple yummy food at the stalls. There will be other stalls that have traditional games like goldfish scooping and stalls that sell masks for children.

7. Please take trash home

Trash cans may not be around during outdoor events such as fireworks. It is recommended you always have a plastic bag to take your trash home with you.

8. Avoid using mobile phones.

It is dangerous to use a mobile phone and smart phone while walking in a crowded place. If you have to operate your mobile, you must get out of the crowd and stop in a place that does not obstruct traffic.

9. Prohibition of unmanned aircraft/drone operation

The act of flying a small unmanned aerial vehicle (such as a drone) is prohibited because it can cause accidents.