Hundreds of brightly-coloured fireworks paint the evening sky of Tokyo every summer in the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival - one of the major fireworks displays in Japan. This event, held on the last Saturday of July over the Sumidagawa near Asakusa, attracts close to a million of celebrants every year. The reflection of the dazzling fireworks over the Sumida River is an unforgettable sight.
In direct contrast with other fireworks displays in other parts of the world, the Sumidagawa Hanabi Taikai follows the Japanese tradition of having a pronounced competitive nature. During the festival, rival pyrotechnic groups try to out-do the last, and subsequently, there is an incredible variety of fireworks in different colours and patterns. Different lights paint the sky of Tokyo with shapes as complicated as Doraemon, Pikachu or kanji.
The Sumidagawa Festival is said to have originated in the Edo period. Back then, people viewed fireworks while enjoying the cool of the summer evening. However, others say that the roots of this event lie in the Suijin Festival dedicated to the water deity held to appease the souls of those who had died of starvation or of plague and to drive away pestilence during the reign of Tokygawa Yoshimune, the eighth Tokugawa Shogun (1684-1751).
This old tradition was suspended because of too much traffic and too many buildings, but it was revived in 1978. Since then, it has a new name, Sumidagawa Hanabi Taikai (Sumida River Fireworks Display). Today, this event is widely considered one of the most marvelous scenes of the summer season in Tokyo.
If you are looking for a good spot to view the fireworks display, you will find it along the Sumida River, which flows through the eastern part of Tokyo and empties into Tokyo Bay.