Aug 12, 2019
The fireworks festival in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, is one of the top 3 fireworks festivals in Japan. It takes place every year on August 2 and 3.
I have seen the beautiful fireworks at Nagaoka twice already and can only recommend it. Here is some advice based on what I learned during my visits which hopefully you can use for visits in the future.
Decide early if want to buy a ticket
The fireworks at Nagaoka can be viewed for free but there are also paid seats available that will offer a better view. Ticket sales start in May. Some tickets are sold based on a lottery system and others are sold first come first serve. The cheapest tickets are 2,000 yen per person. The first come first serve tickets usually sell out within a few days so make sure to buy them early if you want to invest in good seats.
Reserve your spot
Most of the tickets, unfortunately, do not guarantee you a certain seat but only a seat in a certain area. The venue opens at 3 PM and you can use blue sheets to reserve a certain spot for you.
It works the same way for the free seats however the good free seats tend to fill up even before 3 PM.
After you reserved your spot for the Nagaoka fireworks festival you can leave the paid area and can re-enter it again after.
In the summer it is still very hot even in the evenings. Make sure to drink enough water. Especially if you enjoy alcoholic drinks while watching the fireworks. In a dehydrated state, you will get drunk faster than usual. There are a lot of stalls that sell drinks, however these tend to be quite pricey so I would recommend buying drinks at a supermarket.
Check the train schedule and be prepared for a long queue
The Nagaoka fireworks festival is visited by lots of people every year and as you can imagine the train station will be packed after the fireworks.
If you want to go home by train make sure to check when your last train leaves and return to the station early as there will be a long queue and it might take some time until you can enter and board your train. In some cases that means that you won't be able to enjoy the fireworks until the end.
A better way is probably to stay in a hotel, however, they are booked out pretty soon for the two days of the fireworks.
If Nagaoka is a little too far for you to visit, you can still watch the live coverage of the firework festival online, which is also worth viewing.
Hi, I’m Eli. I’m from Germany and moved to Japan a few years ago. I am a typical nerd and like collecting Pokémon merchandise.Follow me on twitter (@hannari_eri) for the latest nerd News from Tokyo. I also write a blog in German over here. https://lifeinjapanisstrange.wordpress.com/