Taito City Culture Guide Book, Tokyo Japan
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Published on May 5, 2018

Sumida River Fireworks Festival is one of the popular attractions in summer, which is held annually at the end of July at the bank of the Sumida River. (Taken in July 2016)

Fireworks are splendors of Edo, which are still popular attractions in summer. Kagiya! Tamaya!

 Edo, the former Tokyo, suffered from a serious famine and a cholera epidemic in 1732. The 8th General Yoshimune Tokugawa held a religious service at the bank of Okawa (the present-day Sumida River) to console dead people's souls. In 1733, besides the religious service, a water god festival was held, and fireworks were shot off on the day of a river festival of Ryogoku. However, this event was temporarily suspended at the times of the Meiji Restoration and the Second World War. It was also suspended during the high economic growth period from around 1962 through 1977 due to the severe water pollution in the Sumida River. However, later on, the water quality was improved, and the river bank was strengthened, so the event was renamed "Sumida River Fireworks Festival" in 1978 and held annually since then.
 Sumida River Fireworks Festival, which is held annually at the end of July, is one of the biggest fireworks festivals in Tokyo, and gathers nearly 1 million visitors every year. It is also covered live on television. Fireworks are shot off from two venues, competing with each other: the first one set on a venue between the Sakura and Kototoi Bridges across the Sumida River and the second one between the Komagata and Umaya Bridges. The festival is a popular attraction in summer in Tokyo, and marked its 40th anniversary in 2017 since it was resumed in 1978.

A barge is towed to the Sumida River across which cool breeze blows, waiting for the start of the festival.

The both riverbanks and nearby buildings in Taito and Sumida Cities are thronged with visitors.

Nearly 1 million visitors see the fireworks every year. It seems that the traffic control is also hard.

Fireworks shot off from two venues burst brilliantly as if they compete with each other.

People on pleasure boats and houseboats enjoy fireworks and a cool breeze blowing across the Sumida River.

Sumida River Fireworks Festival
It is said that Sumida River Fireworks Festival derived from a water god festival held by General Yoshimune Tokugawa at the foot of the Ryogoku Bridge in 1733, in which fireworks were shot off in order to appease souls of people who died from famine and cholera. Although the festival was temporarily suspended at the times of the Meiji Restoration and the Second World War, it marked its 40th anniversary in July 2017 since its name was changed to "Sumida River Fireworks Festival" in 1978. (Area around the Sumida River, Asakusa and Mukojima)

Girls wearing yukatas of various colors vie for fascination on the street.

Sumida River Fireworks Festival's Website