The Beppu Hanabi Taikai (Beppu Fireworks Festival) is a must-see summer event. The festival is held annually on either the last weekend of July or first weekend of August.
Beppu Hanabi Taikai is held at Spa Beach, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Hundreds of colorful and varied stalls are set up in preparation for the fireworks spectacle. The stalls sell typical festival food such as yakiniku (grilled meat), takoyaki (octopus balls), yakisoba (fried noodles), crepes, apple candy, kakigori (shaved ice covered in syrup), and cotton candy. People dressed in yukata (summer kimono) browse the stalls and form large queues to get their hands on their favourite festive treats.
Members of large companies and organizations gather on a stage by the sand to praise the god of hotsprings in the form of a traditional dance. You’re more than welcome to try it out for yourselves, since locals will gladly guide you in their elegant movements.
The dance goes on and on until darkness falls. At this point you need to be quick on your feet and secure a good spot on the beach because everyone will dash to get the best view of the fireworks display. For the next hour you can relax and enjoy the brilliant multi-colored spectacle in the starlit sky.
The event attracts thousands of people every year and is well known for light explosions of various shapes and sizes. For example, fireworks can form into the shape of an animal, cartoon character, or even Beppu’s famous hot springs logo!
As unique as this experience is, there is another way to enjoy Beppu’s fireworks. You have the option to dip into an outdoor hotspring pool and relax your body while watching the lights up in the sky from afar. All at the cost of 400 yen!
If that event isn’t enough, Beppu offers yet another similar fireworks festival on the following weekend in the Kamegawa district. The main difference with this one is that it’s by a small fishing port, giving you a true sense of the Japanese countryside. The fireworks are launched from a large boat floating on the calm blue sea. The reflections in the water are simply breathtaking.
If you plan on visiting Japan during the summer, then do yourself a favor and don’t miss this beautiful experience.