Where handheld pillars of fire light the night

Imagine holding a bamboo tube stuffed with gunpowder under your arm and lighting it intentionally, sending sparks and flames shooting up 20 meters into the air. That's what the Hono no Saiten fire festival in Toyohashi is all about. It's one of Aichi Prefecture's most thrilling events and takes place in what is said to be the home of handheld fireworks.

Don't Miss

  • Making a miniature (and nonexplosive) version of the cannons
  • Activities using augmented reality apps
  • The soul-stirring taiko drum performance

Quick Facts

The festival begins at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony dance

The fireworks performance starts at 6 p.m. and finishes at 8:30 p.m.

The festival is free, but the fireworks performance costs between 500 yen and 4,000 yen depending on your seating preference

How to Get There

You can reach the festival via the Tokaido Shinkansen and regular trains.

Toyohashi Station is approximately an hour and a half by bullet train from Tokyo or 30 minutes from Nagoya. From Toyohashi, head to Ekimae Station and then a short 8-minute ride to Toyohashi Koen-Mae. The festival is held in Toyohashi Park, a five-minute walk from the station.

Fearsome fireworks

As night falls, 25 people in traditional attire take the stage, carrying large gunpowder-filled bamboo tubes. Suddenly fountains of flame shoot 20 meters into the air, filling the night sky with fire and smoke, and sparks cascade down onto the figures below.

The festival takes place on the second Saturday of September. You'll feel the energy and intensity of the Japanese drumming as representatives of the region parade and demonstrate their firepower.

Where this singular form of firepower was born

Toyohashi is the birthplace of these handheld tezutsu fireworks, and the only place where you can see demonstrations of their raw power on such a large scale in the world.

Before the fireworks, be sure to wander the festival site and enjoy smaller traditional performances, feast on festival food and shop for local produce and souvenirs. Throughout the day you can listen to lectures and take part in workshops showing how tezutsu fireworks are made.

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