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Sumida River Fireworks 2016

Red and gold fireworks explode over Tokyo's Sumida river, with Tokyo Skytree on the left

After much debate with myself, I finally decided to go to the Sumida River Fireworks Festival in Asakusa.  Why did I hesitate?  Well, even though I've been in Japan for a long time, I'm not much of a crowd lover and I knew this event was going to be the, "mother of all crowded events".  Furthermore, it was quite far from where I live, so I with the big crowds, crowded trains, crowded convenience stores and just everything crowded I decided to go.  And by the way, did I tell you I knew it was going to really crowded?  With it reported that 957, 000 people were there, I can tell you it is the biggest fireworks festival in Tokyo and probably the most crowded.  

Early evening and rockets go off over Tokyo's Sumida river in front of enormous crowds

Seriously, this event takes the crowding to a whole new level.  It is just really, really crowded.  If you don't like crowds stay away from the Sumida river, when this event is on, because you'll just hate it.  I really regret not stopping to take pictures of the crowds, but as I got there fairly late (having worked today) I needed to hurry and find a place to set up my camera.  And I walked and walked and walked before I finally a relatively good spot in Hashiba which was quite a way from where the action took place.

From my faraway spot, the fireworks still looked great.  There were over 20, 000 of them set off and they looked quite spectacular.  The one thing that surprised me, was just how many cameras on tripods I saw.  They were just everywhere, literally a sea of cameras on tripods in the Hashiba area.

Fireworks explode over the Sumida river bridges

And in the end, even though it was crowded, I was quite impressed with how those crowds were controlled.  The police really seemed to know what they were doing.  They got everyone moving in the right directions with a minimum of fuss.  And when everything finished they brought out their big buses, blocked off all the surrounding streets off from cars so the crowds could get back to their stations with a minimum of fuss.  And now knowing that this event is well and truly crowded I'm pretty sure I'll go back again next year.

The rockets cast a red glow over the Sumida river during the fireworks festival

If you want to see the Sumida River Fireworks Festival website you can see it here.