The Kanagawa Shinbun fireworks festival took place this year on the 2nd of August, attracting immense crowds to gather between the skyscrapers of Minato Mirai in Yokohama as 15,000 rockets were blasted into the sky. Entrance to see the display up close in Rinko Park cost ¥2000, but I was happy to set up on the tarmac behind the barriers and watch from the cheap seats.
Unlike the majority of attractions or displays, the crowds didn’t diminish from the experience. Whether you’re alone in a field or surrounded by people as far as the eye can see, fireworks are equally impressive. Before the Kanagawa Shinbun fireworks festival, a ten-minute display at a local fair was the largest show of pyrotechnics I’d seen in person. The fireworks I saw at Kanagawa Shinbun were on another level. Not only huge in the size of their explosions, there were impressive colours and shapes here, even “trick” fireworks forming smiley faces in bright flares. The high rise buildings either side of the crowd formed a corridor of sound; ensuring that the claps and booms travelled for kilometres and echoed all around. The fact that I walked in the wrong direction when first arriving in the area is a testament to this “surround sound” effect.
The entire main street leading up to Rinko Park had become a supersize open-air cinema, with the fireworks exploding between the buildings serving as the huge technicolour screen. These fireworks were so impressive and varied that they never got old even after a whole hour of watching (though my ears could have done with a break.) The crowd control was extremely efficient; I have a feeling there’d be a lot more jostling for a good view in any other country besides Japan, but here there was a real sense of camaraderie between viewers of the display, as we were all sharing something spectacular. The display ended with a massive crescendo of golden fireworks that were so bright my camera struggled to capture them. This was followed by several thousand people standing up at once to head to the metro station; a sight nearly as remarkable as the fireworks themselves.
Overall I would highly recommend taking the trip to Yokohama next year for this amazing free firework display, provided you don’t mind the crowds (and a few days of ringing ears).