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Ebisu-ko Fireworks Festival

Ebisu-ko Fireworks Festival

**Please note, the Ebisu-ko Fireworks Festival is scheduled to take place in November 2021 however due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, reserved seating will not be available. As a result, we are not able to offer our guided tour this year. We hope to offer it again in November 2022**

Japanese fireworks festivals are grand in scale and duration with some lasting for up to two hours! Held in late-November each year, the Nagano Ebisu-ko Fireworks Festival (長野えびす講花火大会) is huge in its scale and unusual in that it is one of few large fireworks displays held in autumn (as most take place during the summer). First held in the late 19th century, nowadays more than 15,000 individual fireworks light up the night sky over two hours in an amazing display of color, light, and sound.

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The history of the festival stretches back to 1899, when a group of local merchants held a fireworks display in honour of Ebisu – one of the ‘Seven Lucky Gods’ often celebrated in Japan – and hopefully boost their business in the year to come. Coinciding with the harvest and just before winter, business stalls congregated around the event, selling their wares at reduced prices and attracting more and more people to the festival.

Today, the festival draws an estimated crowd of over 400,000 specatators to the banks of the Sai River, from where they can a display of around 15,000 fireworks that burst into the sky over a two hour period. Said to be the largest and most beautiful autumn fireworks festival in Japan, the clear late-autumn night sky allows the individual fireworks to be enjoyed with clarity and vividness, a sight that thrills the audience. The festival involves a competition between professional fireworks artists followed by the dramatic climax with the grand finale – as the sky explodes into colour with hundreds of fireworks lighting-up the night.

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You can attend the festival free of charge, with open spaces along the river allowing spectators to sit and enjoy the display while reserved seating – you have the option of a ‘Premium’ or ‘Ebisu’ reserved seating – available in sectioned-off areas. No matter where you choose to sit, you’ll have easy access to food, snacks and drinks as hundreds of stalls line an avenue running parallel with the river, selling festival favorites such as ‘takoyaki,’ ‘karage’, ‘yakitori’, and much, much more!

If you’re headed to the festival, make sure to dress warmly as temperatures that time of year can be as low as 0°C and while rain is unlikely in November, it can certainly snow! Visitors wanting to sit in the general area free of charge, should get there as early as possible to nab a good spot and remember to take something to sit on.

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Another great option is joining our 1-Day Ebisu-ko Fireworks Festival & Snow Monkey Tour, and combining a visit to the famous snow monkeys of Nagano with the festival in the evening. Including a locally-based English-speaking guide and reserved seating for the fireworks display, our tour is the best way to navigate the crowds and guarantee your view of this epic fireworks display!