Saturday, September 20, 2014

Omagari Fireworks Festival

On 23rd August, hubby and I went to see Omagari Fireworks Festival in Daisen City of Akita prefecture. It is one of the major fireworks festivals in Japan that has been held since 1910 on the dry bed of Omonogawa River. This year was the 88th edition of Omagari Fireworks Festival. The festival attracted about 720000 spectators from entire Japan to Daisen City, and about 18000 fireworks were displayed. The festival is an annual national fireworks competition that is divided into three categories, namely, the daytime fireworks called Hiru Hanabi, 30 centimeters round-shell fireworks, and creative fireworks called Sozo Hanabi. Sozo Hanabi is an annual competition where fireworks artists from all over Japan compete to show off their latest fireworks products and techniques. This year was the 50th year of Sozo Hanabi. For those who are interested, the details about the shapes and sizes of Japanese fireworks can be found at this website.

Hubby and I go every year to see Omagari Fireworks Festival, and viewing the fireworks has become an annual ritual for us. On 23rd August, we started from our home at about 9 am and took two picnic chairs and a picnic sheet with us. It took us about 1.5 hours of car ride to reach Daisen City. We had to park our car at a parking area that was very far from the fireworks display venue. So we had to walk for about an hour to reach the venue. On reaching the festival site, we realized that this year the organizers had drastically changed the seating arrangement and we had to walk for another 45 minutes to reach the ‘unreserved area’. We searched for an open area for seating and were lucky to get a nice place to sit. We spread the picnic sheet and reserved the area for us to sit and view the fireworks later in the evening. At about 12.30 pm, we left the venue and went to Daisen City Hall, which was open to the public on that particular weekend day. We could spend the next few of hours in the comfort of an air-conditioned room there.
From the car parking area, I am walking towards the fireworks display venue in Daisen City

Hubby walking towards the venue

The festival site in the morning

Yet another view of the site

Hubby relaxing inside Daisen City Hall

Hubby got suntanned due to walking for about 2 hours on a bright sunny day

The display of daytime fireworks started at 5.30 pm but we skipped seeing it as we were not much interested. At about 6 pm, we left Daisen City Hall and walked back to the fireworks display venue. We had some difficulty in finding the seating area that we had reserved earlier in the day as the crowd at the festival site had increased tremendously. Eventually we found our seating area and sat down. Many people around us were busy eating and drinking with friends and relatives.
Hubby sitting at our seating area

At 6.50 pm the nighttime fireworks display started with an ‘opening event’. Next, the nighttime national fireworks competition started at 7.05 pm. For the 30 centimeters round-shell fireworks and creative fireworks categories of the competition, this year 28 fireworks artists and manufacturers from all over Japan competed and showed off their techniques. There were spectacular displays of fireworks that used latest fireworks technology and intricate techniques. We enjoyed viewing various kinds of colorful shapes and patterns formed in the night sky. In between the creative fireworks competition, there were four grand fireworks displays called ‘sponsored special event’. These fireworks displays were sponsored by many companies and local organizations but were not included in the competition. These fireworks displays were choreographed to exciting popular music. The fireworks rose into the sky one after another and then exploded into spectacular colorful patterns. There was an additional fireworks display called ‘special program’ where a few companies and organizations collaborated to give a wonderful display of colors and lights. The theme of the ‘special program’ was ‘Odoru - Sky Magic’. The display was really amazing. In addition, at about 8.45 pm there was a fireworks display called the ‘main event’ where different fireworks artists and manufacturers collaborated to give an exquisite display of colors, lights, patterns, and sound. The theme of this year’s main event was ‘Bolero’. About 1800 fireworks were launched in six minutes and 37 seconds. The fireworks were deployed synchronously from several locations spread out across a large area of 550 meters. The passion of the fireworks craftsmen was on grand display and it made a great impression on us. Finally at about 9.30 pm, there was a ‘final event’ where a fantastic display of mostly round-shell fireworks was carried out. Since every year we take lots of photos and also compile many videos of all the programs, this year we just enjoyed the show and clicked photos randomly. Here are some of the photos.

Many photos of Omagari Fireworks Festival

We left our seating area at the fireworks venue at about 9.45 pm. But we had to walk a lot this year due to drastic changes in the seating arrangements at the festival site. Police staffs helped in keeping a smooth flow of the people leaving the venue. It took us almost 2 hours to walk back to the car parking where we had parked our car. It was about 1.30 am of the next day when we reached back our home. We loved the exquisite and spectacular display of fireworks at Omagari Fireworks Festival.
People leaving the fireworks venue

Police staffs helping in keeping a smooth flow of the people leaving the venue

1 comment:

Leslie Lim said...

First time I commented in a blog! I really enjoy it. You have an awesome post. Please do more articles like this. I'm gonna come back surely. God bless.