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.
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My name is DO Dieu Huong, and I am currently living in Beppu city, Oita prefecture, the city of the wind, hugged by mountains, soothed by the sea, and best of all, home of the world’s second largest outflow of hot springs. Although the city is quite small, with a population of about 120,000, we have the highest density of foreigners in Japan (approx 3.8%) thanks to the establishment of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) in the year 2000.I am originally from Hanoi, Vietnam. I first arrived in Japan in 2004 when I was 17, did undergraduate and graduate school at APU, finishing in 2010. I am now working as Admissions Counselor for the APU International Admissions Office. Although I have been living in the same city for the last 7 years, I still find Beppu so amazing with all the natural scenery and traditional events. Other nearby cities and towns in Oita prefecture, such as Hiji, Yufuin and Taketa, still hold so many secrets waiting for us to discover. So I hope you can enjoy the experiences with me through my journeys in Oita.