Kumano Fireworks Festival
To be held: Wednesday August 17th, 2016 at 7:10pm
※ Alternate days: August 18th (Thursday), 22nd (Monday), 23rd (Tuesday), 29th (Monday), and 30th (Tuesday)
Venue: Shichirimihama Coast, Kumano-shi, Mie-ken
Organizer: Kumano City and Kumano City Tourism Organisation
Attractions of Kumano Fireworks Festival
Self-destruct at sea
Ignited fireworks are thrown one after another from boats running at full speed, making a semi-circular flower "bloom" upon the ocean surface. Right before the audience's very eyes, fireworks chase the boats running at full speed, making for quite a thrill.
At a weight of 250kg, the self-destructing three-foot firework bomb is placed upon a steel raft and floated 400m offshore, where it will explode. Please enjoy its semi-circular beauty as it expands to a diameter of 600m.
The Onigajo Large Device
The finale of the Kumano fireworks festival is known as the “Onigajo Large Device”. It is a huge firework which gets its name from the natural monument and World Heritage Site “Onigajo”, which is made of rocky sea caves. The explosion of the giant firework is called “The Great Self-Destruction of Onigajo”. The raw power of Onigajo itself can be felt through the explosion. The light, sound, and shockwave are experienced by all who attend the festival. It is truly a feast for the senses. Do not miss this spectacular finale, which cannot be experienced anywhere but the Kumano Fireworks Festival.
Proud of the three hundred plus years of tradition, the origin of the Kumano Fireworks Festival stems from a simple summer Obon celebration, wherein one’s ancestors are remembered and respected. It is said that simple fireworks were used in humble displays hundreds of years ago. Lanterns were also frequently used to guide the spirits in the original Obon celebrations. Although the scale of the fireworks has increased dramatically, the original purpose of the festival is not forgotten. Traditional lanterns are still carried and placed around the festival to guide the spirits of the ancestors so that they may join in the festivities.
Although the records are not clear, the Kumano fireworks festival is thought to have started 250-300 years ago. Where written records lack, marine traffic and spoken history confirm the long tradition of the festival.
● Please check the website for festival information and updates before departure.
Usually, the biggest threat to a fireworks festival is rain. However, in Kumano, there is an even bigger threat: high waves.
In the case of Kumano, when the festival was postponed in previous years, the cause was usually high waves brought on by typhoons, rather than rain. Even if a typhoon occurs far off the coast of Japan, the coast might have 5m ～ 10m high waves. Below is a photograph that shows the Shichirimihama Coast on August 17th, 2002. The sky was clear, but the coast had high waves due to a typhoon. Thus, the fireworks display was postponed to August 23rd. The postponement was determined on August 15th, but because the weather forecast for the 17th was sunny and clear, a lot of people visited Kumano without knowing about the postponement. (One visitor drove all the way from Kagoshima and had to turn back even though they had already reached Nara...) Since information for the festival can be checked on the homepage at any time, please make sure to check for weather and possible postponement updates before departure.
● There will be heavy traffic around the venue. Parking spaces are also limited, so please use public transportation if possible.
● Please come to the fireworks venue as early as possible.
Because firework launch begins from about 7:10PM, please arrive at the venue as early as possible. Further into the afternoon, roads and railways become heavily congested, and you may not be able to reach the venue in time, so we recommend timing your arrival for the morning/early afternoon hours to avoid the rush.
● Please follow the traffic regulations around the venue.
There are temporary traffic restrictions on the day of the firework launch, affecting the venue and its surrounding areas. Please follow these traffic restrictions. Also, as they can cause excess traffic congestion, please refrain from parking illegally.
● The use of unmanned aircraft (drones) is prohibited.
On the day of the fireworks, bringing and operating small unmanned airplanes (drones, radio-controlled model airplanes, etc.) to the venue (including the coast) as well as photography using these devices is strictly prohibited for safety reasons. Please do not use these devices as there is the possibility of loss of control resulting in injury and the discontinuation of firework launching.
● Please never enter restricted areas.
As a safety precaution, some restricted areas have been established at the Shichirimihama Coast where the fireworks display venue is located. In particular, areas in the vicinity of Onigajo near the water's edge are very dangerous, as they are close to the firework launch locations. To ensure safety, please never enter the restricted areas as we will be unable to continue the launching of fireworks.
● To prevent accidents, please be sure to follow any guidance and instruction from the security guards, etc.
There are many security officials in and around the area. As the Shichirimihama beach area and surrounding train stations are expected to be incredibly busy, and much confusion is expected, there will be many security officials stationed offering guidance and direction for the sake of accident prevention.
● For those attending with children, please exercise adequate caution in order to not be separated.
Every year, a large number of children become lost at the venue. Once the fireworks begin to be launched, we will be unable to make any announcements regarding missing children, so please be extra vigilant when keeping watch over your children during the event.
※Swimming is absolutely prohibited along the Shichirimihama Coast.
Please do not swim.
The fireworks venue along the coast of Shichirimihama is a prohibited swimming zone. As it is incredibly dangerous, swimming is absolutely prohibited. Moreover, as it is also prohibited to go near the water’s edge, please refrain from entering prohibited areas.
● Please choose your location after sections of the beach are divided on August 12th (planned).
※It is possible to choose a location from the latter half of July through the first half of August after beach maintenance has ended, however, in the case that your location is located within the boundary of official areas, your location may be removed.
● Please refrain from selecting a location or attempting to view the firework display from within restricted areas or
passageways. Launching of fireworks is not possible if there are individuals within restricted areas.
Please remain within designated viewing areas. Any tarps set up within restricted areas and passageways will be removed, and violation of these areas may result in your removal by security.
※Please keep viewing space as small as possible.
As viewing space is limited, we ask that you use only as much room as you need.
● Please take any garbage you may accumulate with you as you exit the venue. As the Shichirimihama Coast has been chosen as one of the “Hundred Beaches of Japan,” it is a beautiful coast. In order to preserve this beauty, please take all your garbage with you on your way out.
● Know before going…
Temporary toilets have been installed for the fireworks venue and the surrounding areas, however, wait times may be long due to large crowds. Long car trips may also contribute to these crowds. Because of this, we suggest you make use of the toilets as soon as you can.
● Please do not enter into areas marked for ocean-going vessels only.
Off the Shichirimihama Coast along the fireworks venue location, there are areas designated for ocean-going vessels only in order to prevent any hazards. If you wish to view the fireworks display from the ocean, please be careful not to enter these areas. Moreover, there are fixed nets installed in the ocean as well as other potential hazards you may become entangled in, so please exercise the utmost in caution.
For more details about ocean-going vessel demarcated areas, please visit the homepage of the Fourth Jurisdiction Coast Guard.
● When you leave, please follow the instructions of guards slowly and calmly.
After finishing the fireworks, the venue will be very crowded because tens of thousands of visitors will move all at once. In particular, areas such as the embankment gate and stairs, etc. leading from the coast to the road are very dangerous since everyone must exit from these points. Please proceed slowly in accordance with the induction of guards to prevent accidents.