By David, long-term Tokyo resident & food-loving traveler
Tokyo celebrates the summer with this fabulous fireworks festival that attracts over a million people each year. There will be more than 20,000 fireworks sent up into the sky from two locations on Sumida River near Asakusa.
The 2019 Sumida River Fireworks Festival will take place this Saturday, July 27, 2019. In case of rain or bad weather the festival will be moved to Sunday, July 28.
Here is the venue map on the official event website https://www.sumidagawa-hanabi.com/venue/index.html
The two big red dots represent the two places from which fireworks will be launched. Venue 1 (between Sakura-bashi Bridge and Kototoi-bashi Bridge) will launch 9,756 fireworks between 19:00 to 20:30 and venue 2 (between Komagata-bashi Bridge and Umaya-bashi Bridge) will launch 10,650 between 19:30 to 20:30. There will be many different kinds of fireworks to see and part of the shots from venue 1 are a competition, where Japan’s best pyrotechnics companies show off their new creations. They showcase new colors, combinations, and fun designs.
Access is best by public transport. The white area on the map will be closed to traffic from 16:30 to 21:30. Asakusa and Kuramae Station are both located right next to Sumida River.
Come early if you want to get a spot for your blanket and watch the fireworks while you have a picnic. Make sure to bring a tarp to mark your spot. The green areas around the area are parks and places where you can sit, but you have to be quick to secure a place. The red areas near the river are off limits during the event, some are closed off earlier for preparations.
Another way to watch the fireworks is to walk along the River and across its bridges. This way you can see the fireworks from different angles. Please note that you will have to keep moving around with the crowds. The bridges and streets marked with arrows on the map will be one-way, because this festival is so very popular.
Bring your camera with a good lens or upgrade the camera on your mobile phone with a photo app to make sure you can capture the lights, colors, and cityscape at night. And if you want to watch in traditional Japanese style, wear a yukata (light cotton summer kimono) and accessorize with a fan. Near Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa there are many shops that sell and rent yukata - the staff at the shops will show you how get dressed in yukata.
Enjoy the experience. It gets crowded and hot, but the amazing fireworks are totally worth it!