Photo: Yosi Oka

Niigata Fireworks Festival

A weekend of traditional dance and fireworks

Photo: Yosi Oka
Venue: Shinano River When: Mid Aug 2022

The Niigata Festival is one of the biggest summer festivals in one of the smaller provincial cities of Japan, making it doubly impactful for the small footprint, with more than 500,000 people attending each year. It combines community spirit and a sense of fun, without all the difficulties of hosting it in a large metropolis, such as 20 people deep crowds, or exorbitant hotel prices. Nevertheless, it is best to pre-book hotel accommodation if you are coming from out of town.

The highlight of the festival is the fireworks in the evening over the Shinano River to the backdrop of illuminated boats. The fireworks last for over an hour, making it a spectacular backdrop for a balmy picnic or an al fresco dinner with family or friends. On Friday night, there is one of Japan’s largest parades, with 15,000 folk dancers swinging to the same beat in summer kimonos. During the day there are Taiko or Japanese drumming troupes, portable shrines and an immense number of summer stalls, with games and treats for participants of all ages.

Getting there

The festival is just 15 minutes by foot from JR Niigata Station, or 10 minutes from JR Hakusan Station.

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Bonson Lam

Bonson Lam @bonson.lam

I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric lane ways of Kyoto last century. From the skies above Sapporo to the old charm of Naha's alleyways, I have been enchanted by the beauty and variety on every island. I am humbled to have met many distinguished people in my role as Regional Partner, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperial Family. From sushi cooking classes to Ninja training grounds I welcome your ideas on what you like from Please visit us in Kyoto or Osaka and have some green tea or sake with us. 

Join the discussion

Kim 2 years ago
Having lived in Niigata now for two years I can say that the festivals here are so easy to enjoy because they’re never so crowded that it’s uncomfortable!