Glorious Fireworks Color the Autumn Sky
Going Out With a Bang
The Nagano Ebisukō Fireworks Display, famous as the last major fireworks display of the year, took place for the 108th time on November 23, 2013 on the banks of the Saigawa River in Nagano. Roughly 430,000 people came from all over Japan to enjoy the spectacle as some 10,000 fireworks lit up the clear autumnal night sky. Fireworks are generally associated with the summer in Japan, but the clear skies later in the year often provide the perfect atmospheric conditions for fireworks, giving the Nagano Ebisukō Fireworks Display a special appeal for the nation’s legions of fireworks enthusiasts.
Another major factor that draws huge crowds to the festival is the opportunity to enjoy fireworks created by Aoki Akio of the Beniya Aoki Fireworks Co., Ltd, a leading player in the fireworks industry in Japan. Aoki, who is president of the Japan Fireworks Artists Association, is regarded as the best in his profession, and his creations are hugely popular among fireworks enthusiasts.
Coming a close second to Beniya Aoki’s fireworks are those by Fujiwara Nobuo of Shinshū Fireworks Industries, the largest fireworks manufacturer in Nagano and a frequent participant at fireworks displays across Japan. Competition between the two is literally making the sparks fly. These videos show the diligent workmanship of these two on-fire artists.
The Nagano Ebisukō Fireworks Display coincides with the Ebisu Festival at the Nishinomiya Shrine in Nagano city. Traditionally, local businesses would hold major sales at festival time, drawing huge crowds who came to give thanks for the year’s harvest and pray for prosperity in the year to come. In 1899, a local group let off fireworks as a way of giving thanks to Ebisu, one of the traditional seven Gods of Fortune. The tradition continues to the present day.
For a more in-depth look at the fireworks, click here for a 10-minute version of video highlights.
(Banner image by Izumiya Gensaku. With thanks to the Nagano Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Nagano Federation of Shopkeepers)