The impressive week-long Lake Ashi Summer Festival in the mountainous city of Hakone takes place this year from July 31 to August 5. As it is held in conjunction with the Hakone Shrine Annual Meeting Reitaisai festival, you can expect a series of events as well as breathtaking fireworks. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, only the fireworks are open to the public. But that’s perfectly fine because the fireworks are the highlight we all want to see. Mark these dates in your calendar.
Kosui Matsuri Fireworks Festival
Approximately 2,000 firework shells will be launched at 8 p.m. Moto-Hakone Bay.
1265 Taisai Hoshuku Fireworks Festival
This fireworks display is held to commemorate the 1265th anniversary of Hakone Shrine. Approximately 2,000 firework shells will be fired from Moto-Hakone Bay at 20 hours.
August 2 & 3
Hakone-en Summer Nights Festival
The Hakone-en Resort Complex — a 30-minute walk from the Moto-Hakone area — celebrates summer with fireworks at 8 p.m. About 2,000 shells will be launched from Hakone-en Bay, with star mines and Niagara sparklers synchronized to the music. Visitors can submit wishes and messages, which will be read during the pyrotechnic show. You will also find food stalls selling typical festival food.
Kojiri Ryujin Festival Fireworks
Approximately 2,000 firework shells will be launched at 8 p.m. Kojiri Bay on the north shore of Lake Ashi.
Torii-yaki festival fireworks
This is arguably the best fireworks display of the season in Hakone. Two six meters high torii gates will be set into the lake and set alight – an old tradition dedicated to the dragon god – with colorful explosions of fireworks occurring overhead. You can expect around 2,000 shells, all fired from Hakone Bay at 20 hours.
For the best up-close views of the fireworks, you might want to consider boarding Lake Ashi’s iconic pirate ships for a mesmerizing cruise under sparkling skies. It’s bound to be very popular, so we recommend booking tickets in advance (¥2,610, elementary school students ¥660).
Wait, there’s more. On August 16 there is another summer event around Hakone Gora Station. You can enjoy brass band performance at 2:45 PM, lion dance performance at 3 PM, and Buddhist ceremony at Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple at 3:30 PM. The highlight, however, is the fireworks and omoji yaki fire ceremony at 7:30 p.m.
Omoji-yaki is a ceremonial bonfire to comfort and send spirits on the last night of O-Bon, an annual Buddhist event in August to commemorate one’s ancestors. the Japaneses kanji the character ‘大’ will be set on fire on the mountainside.
Preparations for this momentous event begin two months in advance, where 250 bundles of dried bamboo will be used to create the “大” character. And it’s huge, with a width of 180 meters, just so that the character is clearly visible from the foot of the mountain.
Note that in case of stormy weather, the event will be moved to August 21.
For more information, see the event website (Japanese only).
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