2016 Sumida River Fireworks: Tokyo’s Explosive Night Sky

In July 2016, after much self-debate, I went to the Sumida River Fireworks Festival. Why did I hesitate?  Well, even though I’ve been in Japan a long time, I’m not a crowd lover. And I knew this event was going to be the “mother of all crowded events.” Furthermore, it was far from where I live. So, off I went with the big crowds and all my camera gear.

And by the way, did I tell you it would be crowded? Later I found out that the audience numbered 957 000 people! Without a doubt, it is the biggest fireworks festival in Tokyo and the most crowded.

This event takes the word crowded to a new level. It is insane. If you don’t like large groups of people, stay away from the Sumida River. But I did have one regret that night. I didn’t stop to take pictures of the crowds.

But, as I got there late (due to work), I needed to hurry and find a place to set up my camera. After walking what seemed miles, I finally found a good spot in Hashiba. That was far from where the main action took place.

I was lucky. Even from my lonely spot, I could see enough of the fireworks. Over 20 000 were launched. They were spectacular and noisy! It was a cacophony of explosions all night. I even saw some people with earplugs.

There was one thing that surprised me. I saw so many cameras on tripods. They were everywhere, a sea of them in the Hashiba area.

Crowd control on the night was impressive once the fireworks finished. The police knew what they were doing. They brought out their big buses to block off the surrounding streets. That funneled everyone in the right direction, to the train stations. There was no fuss about it.

The Sumida River Fireworks is a fantastic event. Even though the crowds are huge, I’ll go again for sure. By the way, how many times did I use the word, “crowd” in this article? Please leave your questions and comments below.

Where can I watch the Sumida River Fireworks?

There are many options. Two popular places are the Taito Riverside Sports Center and near Komagata Bridge. Of course, if they are too crowded, you can walk the banks of the river until you find a spot.

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