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Blast in Japan Summer 2006

Festivals and Fireworks in Kyushu & Okinawa Region
– July and August Edition –

Hakata Gion Yamagasa
Several Gion festivals are held in different parts of Japan and in different scale, and this one – more commonly called Yamagasa – starting the summer of Hakata is one of the biggest. Gorgeous kazariyama (fixed yamagasa floats) set on streets and corners add brightness to the city on the 1st, but the true spectacle of the Yamagasa is on the 15th when teams gallant Kyushu men in shimekomi (traditional festival loincloth) race around the city carrying floats that weigh more than 1t.
[Dates] July 1-15, 2006
[Time] differ accordingly to each event
[Location] Kushida Shrine area and other parts of the city
Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture
[Access] 5-min-walk from subway Gion Station
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 092-291-2951 (Kushida Shrine)
[URL] http://www.nakasu.org/yama_topics.html
(Nakasu Tourism Association official web site, Japanese)
(Fukuoka City Sightseeing Navigate Station, English)
Kaiyohaku Park Summer Festival 2006
Summer Park Festival is one of the biggest summer events in Okinawa and provides a great Ryukyu atmosphere with various sub-events going on for the day. A parade of Okinawa’s intrinsic Eisa dancing starts off from 12:40 noontime lifting the air towards the 15:00 live music concert against the sunset, which ultimately continues into the climax of approximately 10,000 count-down fireworks that color the breezy Okinawa night.
[Dates] July 15th, 2006
[Time] depend on each event
[Location] National Okinawa Memorial Park Kaiyohaku Park
424 Aza-Ishikawa, Motobu-cho,
Kunigami County, Okinawa Prefecture
[Access] take bus from Naha Airport for 150min, get off at
Koen-mae bus stop
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0980-48-2741
(Ocean Exposition commemorative Park management Foundation)
[URL] http://www.kaiyouhaku.com/news/06062701_01_event.html
(Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium official web site, Japanese)
2006 Summer Festival in Naha – 10,000 Eisa Dancing
Undoubtedly one of the biggest Eisa festivals in terms of the number of dancers counting as many as 10,000, the festivals starts on the 23rd with an opening event, carrying on to Eisa Ashibinah on the 28th, The 10,000 Eisa Eve and finally the stunning 10,000 Eisa on the 30th. With history and culture different from other parts of Japan, visitors are assured to enjoy the unique spirit and atmosphere of the southern islands.
[Dates] July 23, 28-30 2006
[Time] depend on each event
[Location] near the International Street (Kokusai-dori)
Kumoji, Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture
[Access] just outside of Kencho-mae Station: Yui Rail (from Naha Airport)
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 090-863-2755 (Natsumatsuri in Naha Committee)
[URL] http://www.kokusaidori.org/eisar2006/index2.html
54th Annual Kyushu Fireworks
The Kyushu Fireworks are the largest fireworks in Saga prefecture that boasts its trick Niagara firefalls set right in front of the audience. It also attracts thousands of people with the beautiful rainbow colors of the fireworks dying the Matsukawa River.
[Dates] July 27, 2006
[Time] 20:00-21:00
[Location] Matsukawa Riverbank track and field
Kagami, Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture
[Access] 5-min-walk from JR Higashi-Karatsu Station
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0955-74-7111 (Karatsu Newspaper)
[URL] http://www.city.karatsu.lg.jp/kouhou/kankou/index.html
(Karatsu City office of tourism official web site, Japanese)
Beppu Summer Evening Festival Fireworks
The 6,000 fireworks of various sizes and designs coloring the night sky of Beppu, the city of nightsight, has now become the seasonal tradition of Beppu. It is one of the largest summer festivals in Oita Prefecture with hundreds of stalls and events crowd the streets of the city. In this city, nobody cares if you’re a resident or a tourist: everybody joins in the great dancing held along with the other events.
[Dates] July 27-30, 2006
[Time] depend on each event
[Location] Beppu SPA Beach
Beppu City, Oita Prefecture
[Access] 5-min-shuttlebus-ride from JR Beppu Station
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0977-24-2828 (Beppu Tourist Association)
[URL] http://www.beppu-navi.jp/natsuyoi/2006/index.html
(Sightseeing Association Beppu City festival information, Japanese)
(Sightseeing Association Beppu City, English)
44th Annual Nishi Nippon Ohori Fireworks
Many many people not only from within the prefecture but from across the country come to appreciate the marvelous fireworks of this event every year. 30 trick fireworks, 15 quick ones and nearly 6,000 individual fireworks are scheduled to blast sparkle in the night sky of Fukuoka. Surrounding popular spots like the Fukuoka Dome provide perfect view of the fireworks but may give you a hard time getting hold of space.
[Dates] August 1, 2006
[Time] differ accordingly to each event
[Location] Ohori Park
Ohori Park, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefeture
[Access] 5-min-walk from subway Ohori Koen Station
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 092-711-5506
(The Nishinippon Shimbun department of Culture and Sports)
[URL] http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/news/oohori/2005/
(The Nishinippon Shimbun official web site, Japanese info is of '05)
Tamana Summer Evening Fireworks
The biggest fireworks in the northern parts of the prefecture, the Tamana fireworks entertain the audience with about 9,000 shots right in front of them by the Kikuchigawa River.
[Dates] August 4, 2006
[Time] N/A
[Location] Upper stream of Kikuchigawa River, near Takase Ohashi
Tamana City, Kumamoto Prefecture
[Access] 15-min-walk from JR Tamana Station
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0968-72-3106 (The Fireworks Committee)
[URL] http://www.city.tamana.lg.jp/
(Tamana City official web site, Japanese)
Wasshoi Hyakumangoku Summer Festival
This is like a huge integrative summer festival of many kinds of summer festivals of Kita-Kyushu City (Kokura Gion Daiko/ Kurosaki Gion Yamagasa/ Tobata Gion Ohyamagasa/ Ozato Densho Yamagasa/ etc)going on all at the same time with thousands of residents creating an excited crowd. This grand festival is finished up by the Hyakuman Odori (a million people dance) with actually only 10,000 dancers in the group, and approximately 3,000 fireworks brightening up the city.
[Dates] Aug 5-6, 2006
[Time] differ accordingly to each event
[Location] Kokura Castle area
Kokura Kita-ku, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture
[Access] 10-min-walk from JR Kokura Station
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 093-541-5472 (Wasshoi Hyakumangoku Matsuri Office)
[URL] http://www.wasshoi.info/
(Wasshoi Hyakumangoku Matsuri official web site, Japanese)
19th Annual Kaikyo Fireworks
13,000 fireworks will be launched out to the night sky from fireworks battery set on boats 300 meters off shore in the Kaikyo channel. 
[Dates] Aug 13, 2006
[Time] 19:40-20:40
[Location] Moji-ku West Coast Landfill
Moji-ku, Kita-Kyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture   
[Access] 5-min-walk from JR Mojikou Station (Moji Port)
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 093-322-1186 (Kaikyo Fireworks Committee Moji)
[URL] http://www.kcta.or.jp/english/index.html
(Tourism Information of Moji City, English/ Hengeul/ Chinese)
Yamaga Lantern Festival
Fireworks and folk dancing filled with excitement and cheer are most associated with summer festivals in Japan, but this one is a different kind of summer festival although it uses fire. This lantern festival goes on as a dawn-breaking event and is counted as one of the Three Kumamoto Fire Festivals. It starts with the decorations of the lanterns on the first day, continuing on to the refined Sennin-Tourou-Odori which women with metal lanterns on their heads gracefully dance along the Yoheho-bushi (traditional folk song), and on to the finale of Agari-Tourou. There will be some fireworks and torch procession as well.
[Dates] Aug 15, 2006
[Time] Please refer to schedule
[Location] Yamaga City center
Kumamoto Prefecture
[Access] 5-min-walk from Yamaga Onsen bus stop:
45-min-busride from JR Tamana Station to the last stop
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 0968-43-1579 (Yamaga City office of tourism)
[URL] http://www.city.yamaga.kumamoto.jp/kankoh/08-tourou/index.html
(Yamaga City office of tourism official web site, Japanese)
(Yamaga City office of tourism official web site, English *PDF)
Okinawa All-Islands Eisa Festival
Eisa, meaning-wise, is a kind of ritual similar to the mainland Japan’s bon, in which people commemorate the spirit of the ancestors but is a whole lot vivid with more movements in the dances and cheer in the songs. The Ryuku summer tradition is widely spread across to the smallest island and villages of Okinawa each developing their own styles, but this one boasts an enormous scale with 50 years of history (2005) and drawing 250,000 people as audience (2005).
[Dates] Aug 18-20, 2006
[Time] depend on each event
[Location] Okinawa Koza Sports Park
2-1-1 Moromizato, Okinawa City, Okinawa Prefecture
[Access] take bus from Naha Airport bus terminal for 60min, get off at Sonoda and walk for about 10min
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 098-937-8735 (Okinawa City Tourist Association)
[URL] http://www.koza.ne.jp/events/eisa/zentoeisa.html
(Okinawa City Tourist Association official web site, Japanese)
Tanegashima Teppo Festival
Tanegashima is the first place in Japan where western firearm arrived and the Teppo Matsuri is held annually in commemoration of the history. Loud bangs of harquebus that reminds one of the guns of centuries ago let know the beginning of the festival, followed by processions and parades and various performances, and last but not least 3,000 fireworks decorating the sky.
[Dates] Aug 20, 2006
[Time] depend on each event

Nishinoomote City center
Nishinoomote City, Kagoshima Prefecture

[Access] 35-min-taxiride from Tanegashima Airport
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 0997-22-1111 (Nishinoomote office of economy and tourism)
[URL] http://www.tanegashima.info/ibent00.html
(Tanegashima Board of Tourism official web site, Japanese)
17th Wellness Miyakonojo Fireworks
The vast sky and the water surface of Okimizugawa River get colored by fireworks competed among 4 fireworks factories. On top of the prefecture’s largest scale fireworks with 10,000 shots, other performances, events and stalls heat up the festivity mood.
[Dates] Aug 26, 2006
[Time] depend on each event

Okimizugawa Green Park (lower stream of Okimizubashi Bridge on
National Route 10)
4-chome Shimokawahigashi, Miyakonojo City, Miyazaki Prefecture

[Access] 10-min-busride on special bus from JR Miyakonojo Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 0986-23-2615 (Miyakonojo City Commerce and Tourism)
[URL] http://www.city.miyakonojo.miyazaki.jp/
(Miyakonojo Sightseeing Information: Miyakonojo City Commerce and Tourism official web site, Japanese)
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