The Ashikaga Fireworks Festival, held on the first Saturday of August, is one of my favorite firework festivals. Firework makers each get about 5 minutes to show off their best creations. The festival starts from 7 pm and finishes at about 9 pm. This is one of the longer firework festivals. 20,000 fireworks in total, light up the summer sky and bring thousands of people to Ashikaga from around the country.
The fireworks were colorful, with colours such as purple, pink, blue, red, and green, along with the common colours, white and gold. Some of them even changed colours. There were also fireworks shaped like hearts and the summer flower Asagao (Morning Glory). Fireworks are one of the many summer fūbutsushi. Fūbutsushi is something that reminds you of a particular season. Other unique summer fūbutsushi include watermelon, kakigori (snow cones), asagao, and sunflowers.
If you want to see the Ashikaga Fireworks Festival, I advise you to book a hotel as soon as possible. We searched for hotels near the Ashikaga district a month before the festival, but most of them were full. There are so many people that come to see the fireworks, that the few hotels nearby get booked very soon. Also, if you want to a good view of the fireworks, you will need to reserve a spot and buy a ticket. From where I sat, we could see the fireworks without any buildings or trees blocking the view. We sat so close to the area where the fireworks were blasted, that it seemed as though the fireworks burst above our heads. There are many food and drink stalls known as yatai at these summer festivals. My friends and I bought fried noodles (yaki-soba), cheese sticks, and some drinks. We did not wear the summer kimono, yukata, but many young women that we saw were dressed in beautiful yukata gowns accompanied by traditional handbags and hair accessories.