Fireworks Festival at Tama River
August 15th, 2016 marked the 69th commemoration anniversary of Ota-ku declaring itself as the Peace City, after the end of World War 2 for Japan. The fireworks sparkling above the Tama River were very worth the heat in the open air. The food stands bustled with people lined up for teriyaki, yakisoba, kebabs, and drinks (which were surprisingly, relatively cheaper than other festivals). Two jazz singers backed by dozens of jazz instrumentalists kicked off the event with the classic “Besame Mucho”, with some songs from Acapulco, a major beach area in Mexico. Then followed a whole group of drummers, with a rather young woman in the forefront.
After the well-coordinated drum beats, the major of Ota gave a speech commemorating the history behind this event. Soon, a choir group from Boston went on stage and sang along with Japanese children a memorial song. Before the fireworks illuminated the sky, there was a presentation for the mascot- Hanepyon – a yellow-white rabbit with what looks like a plane figure on the back of its head. The name is derived from Haneda airport, which is nearby- it’s definitely some cute wordplay.
The fireworks start from approximately 7:30 pm until 8:10 pm. In a span of around 40 minutes, you will see 7,000 fireworks with many different varieties. The fireworks here tend to blast at a relatively lower height than other typical firework festivals, and fewer people, due to less publicity, than the other major festivals in Tokyo.
It is recommended that you arrive early so you can secure your seat and also enjoy the surrounding stalls that only come out on this day.