The Japanese word for fireworks is 花火 (Hana-bi), 花 = flower and 火 = fire. As you can see, the combination of kanji characters is wonderful way of describing the decorative explosions which are launched up into the nighttime skies. Fireworks events are called 花火大会 (Hana-bi tai-kai) and most often occur as part of local festivals, or 祭り (Matsuri -- see link below for further details). Another link below has information on the large fireworks event (over 10,000 explosions) which will occur in Yokosuka City on 15 October 2023 -- during cool autumn weather. In addition to the impressive Hana-bi action, the U.S. navy Base (CFAY) will be opened for general visitation as part of the "Friendship Day" community relations event. Back in olden days Japan, fireworks were used as a way to ward-off evil spirits and sometimes to mourn/commemorate the dead after a disaster. During Japan's the Edo period (1603-1868), peace was established around the country after a long period of civil wars, and the Hana-bi came to be used during festivals and celebrations. Since Japan was at peace, gun powder, which had previously been used for weapons, was converted over to making all kinds and sizes of fireworks. The fireworks themselves are spherical shaped and shot into the air from vertical cannon/mortar-like tubes. The largest type of fireworks spheres can measure over 1.2 meters in diameter. Of interest, one thing which is unique about Yokosuka's Hana-bi tai-kai is that the fireworks are launched on the ocean (from a barge anchored offshore the downtown & harbor area). Needless to say, the 15 October event will draw huge crowds and access to viewing areas will be affected by that -- so plan ahead and be prepared accordingly. We hope you will enjoy this festive event.
Written By Goodfield