These days, the smell of summer is slowly getting stronger in the air.
For me, who grew up in Kanagawa Prefecture, the fireworks at the Yokohama Port Opening Festival always signal the beginning of summer.
It was still too early to call it summer, but as I looked up at the sky in my yukata, I felt excited for the arrival of summer. Now that I'm an adult, I no longer have summer vacation, which lasted forever, and I'm forced to work under the scorching sun or in a room that's too cold with an air conditioner, and summer is no longer just fun. Even so, the fact that I still get excited about summertime concepts such as fireworks, the sound of cicadas, and the smell of sunscreen is perhaps because I live in a country where we can enjoy all four seasons.
Many fireworks festivals have been canceled over the past few years due to the coronavirus, but this year events where you can enjoy fireworks are gradually making a comeback in Kanagawa Prefecture. In this article, we will introduce some notable events where you can enjoy fireworks in the prefecture in the summer of 2022.
●Yugawara Onsen Fireworks Festival
Date (scheduled): August 3rd (Wednesday), August 6th (Saturday) in case of rain
The ``Yugawara Onsen Fireworks Festival'' is the finale of the ``Yugawara Yassama Festival,'' which greatly enlivens summer in Yugawara. After the colorful flower carts cheer up the atmosphere on the ground, the stage moves to the sky on the second night, and approximately 6,000 fireworks close the festival. The fireworks that are set off with Sagami Bay in the background are truly magical, illuminating not only the night sky but also the sea surface. One of the popular performances is the underwater star mine that can only be seen at sea. This fireworks festival is a popular event that attracts many people from inside and outside the prefecture, where you can feel the pleasant sea breeze while looking up at the fireworks, and then take a relaxing soak in the hot springs afterward.
●Izu Yugawara Onsen Summer Fireworks Festival
Date (scheduled): July 23rd (Sat), if postponed, August 27th (Sat)
Also from Yugawara, the ``Izu Yugawara Onsen Noryo Fireworks Festival'' is popular as ``the closest fireworks display in Japan.'' Held at Izumi Park in the center of Yugawara Onsen Town, you can enjoy about 2,000 fireworks and Enshu Tezutsu Fireworks, which are rarely seen at regular fireworks festivals. In ``tezutsu fireworks,'' a pyrotechnician actually holds a tube in his hand and fires fireworks into the sky from about 100 tubes. Fireworks have a strong image of being beautiful and ephemeral, but here you can enjoy an impressive and powerful impression. The fireworks that follow are set off inside the park, so you can get very close to the fireworks, and enjoy the sound of the fireworks and the smell of gunpowder with all five senses. This is a fireworks festival where you can enjoy a variety of fireworks up close, including the popular Star Mine and musical fireworks that are set off with music.
●Hakone Gora Onsen Daimonjiyaki
Date (scheduled): 8/16 (Tue)
Next, we will introduce a summer tradition in Hakone that can be enjoyed along with fireworks. ``Hakone Gora Onsen Daimonji Yaki'', which will be held for the 101st time this year, is counted as one of Hakone's three major festivals, and has been held for many years to soothe tourists and summer seekers, and as a sendoff for Ura-bon. The character ``Da'' is made using approximately 200 to 300 torches, and boasts a considerable size: 108 meters in the first stroke, 162 meters in the second stroke, and 81 meters in the third stroke. As the fireworks signal the ignition, the sight of the character ``Da'' slowly appearing on Mt. Myojogatake, 924 meters above sea level, is a sight that truly symbolizes summer in Japan. There are a wide variety of fireworks, including the popular ``Star Mine'' and ``Niagara Falls,'' which shine just as brightly as Daimonji-yaki, and brightly light up the night sky.
●Shonan Hiratsuka Fireworks Festival
Date (scheduled): August 26th (Friday), August 28th (Sunday) in case of rain
Photo provided by Hiratsuka City Tourism Association
At the end of August, the Shonan Hiratsuka Fireworks Festival lights up the Shonan sky. This fireworks festival is held on the seaside, a symbol of Shonan in the summer. It was canceled for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, but will be revived this year for the first time in three years. This festival, held in Shonan-Itako (Sagami River estuary), begins with a drum performance, followed by about 3,000 fireworks each year. It began in 1952 as the ``Suga Noryo Fireworks Festival'' by residents of the local Suga district, and has since become a popular event that is essential to the summer in Shonan, under the sponsorship of the tourism association. A wide variety of fireworks such as shakudama and star mines are in full bloom, and the ``Hana Vision'' at the end, where star mines go up to the beat of music, is a must-see.
I hope you will come and experience the summer in Japan for yourself.