Fire Flowers   花火

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The hanabi (fireworks) outside Japan, gathering people whose Japanese delight.

The hanabi (fireworks) outside Japan, gathering people whose Japanese delight.

Disguised bomb explosions throw in a hanabi on the island of Hokkaido.

Disguised bomb explosions throw in a hanabi on the island of Hokkaido.

Willow, a traditional form of Japanese fireworks fireworks.

Willow, a traditional form of Japanese fireworks fireworks.

Kyoto ablaze

The "fire flowers" (hanabi) explode in the sky and reflect off the night waters under the gaze of a packed crowd. Summer fireworks are an institution in Japan.

This is a usual summertime evening in Japan. The curious gather along a river and leave behind the covered picnic tables to soak up the fine weather. And when night draws in, a choreography of shapes and colors explodes and crowd goes wild: the fireworks, a sparkling show of pyrotechnic prowess makes the Japanese go crazy.

Hanabi and Hanami

It must be said that the fireworks in Japan are among some of the best in the world, combining power and miraculous heights, these "fire flowers" (hanabi, fireworks in Japanese) shaped like peonys, willows, and chrysanthemums, the symbol of the imperial throne. The bright colors are reminiscent of the colorful makeup in Kabuki theater. Rhythmic explosions keep tens of thousands of spectators entertained for an hour...quite an achievement!

Attending a hanabi in Japan is as inescapable experience, just like the spectacle of the cherry blossoms in spring, hanami. Both are attractive and friendly, and provide an opportunity for a communal feel with the Japanese. Summer festivals, or matsuri, are pure family fun. The beer flows freely, laughter breaks out, Yatai (food trucks) serve local specialties, all while the water reflects the multicolored explosions.

When Kyoto goes ablaze

The Japanese fireworks number in the hundreds during the summer, the most famous being fired in Tokyo and Miyajima. But all cities in the country have competing technology and ingenuity to each prepare a hanabi each more lavish and impressive than the last year (see top 5 in Japan Guide).

Thus the case of Kyoto: the former imperial capital itself does not organize any hanabi to avoid the risk of fire ... but the surrounding areas are full of fireworks:


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