Normally, fireworks festivals are considered to be part of Japanese summer, not winter. If you ask your Japanese friend, I’m sure he or she will agree with this. I’m also sure that you’ll find some writings like this somewhere in your travel guidebook of Japan. Especially, Sumida River Fireworks in July is the most popular Fireworks Festival in Tokyo, and even in Japan.
However, I’d like to recommend Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks, which are held on Saturday in December, better than Sumida River Fireworks. Tokyo Direct Guide is independent; I sometimes point out things that leading travel guidebooks and tourist bureaus do not speak, and I’m proud of it. I’m happy if my opinions from the viewpoint of a local are helpful to make your trip to Tokyo better!
1: Good Weather in Winter
The first reason is simple; it is not hot nor too cold in Tokyo in winter.
The air is clearer in winter than in summer, which is definitely a good thing for fireworks.
I do know that you want to experience the traditional beauty of Japanese summer. Wearing a kimono, strolling along Sumida River in Asakusa, listening to the sounds that fireworks leave, saying thank you to the passionate firework craft people… I understand you have such a dream.
It hurts to point out that the reality does not go that way. As a local, I repeatedly advise you not to underestimate summer in Tokyo. REALLY BOILING.
In Odaiba in winter, this problem never happens! It is not hard to be outside and you can concentrate into enjoying fireworks!
If you like, you can find fascinating restaurants in Aqua City and Decks Tokyo Beach, which are facing Tokyo Bay. We need a reservation for a good table to view the fireworks in some restaurants, but just remember there is such a great option!
2: Wide Space in Tokyo Bay
We can view the fireworks from the shopping centers, Odaiba Marin Park, and anywhere we can see them. (In some decks and terraces, it is not allowed to stand and view Rainbow Fireworks for safety. Listen to the announcements and read the signs in English.)
Just in case, the red (or looking orange) tower seen beyond Rainbow Bridge is Tokyo Tower. What’s more, the lighting of Rainbow Bridge is special in this season – it’s literally rainbow colored. This view of cool Tokyo Bay cannot be better, right?
For example, I found a good place in the rooftop of Aqua City Odaiba.
The ships are all yakata-bune, which are cruising restaurants in Tokyo Bay. I hear that they are getting popular among international travelers. Yes, they are gathering to see the fireworks from the sea!
… Can you feel how special it is to view fireworks in a wide space? Briefly, Sumida River Fireworks Festival is too crowded! Tokyo is a city which sometimes gets ridiculously crowded, and I’m used to crowds because I’m a local, but I’m not saying I like crowds! Personally, I see Sumida River Fireworks on TV in a room with an air conditioner.
I like to view fireworks in the cool bay side without any HEADS in front of me. Yay!
3: Stunning Urban Night Views of Tokyo
How powerful the fireworks are is really difficult to explain. Please feel it from my photos!
Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks last for 10 minutes. The last one is especially huge and spectacular!
After the fireworks, do not forget going to Decks Tokyo Beach. There is a huge Christmas tree with the background of Rainbow Bridge! It is one of the coolest Christmas spots in Tokyo – it’s a MUST.
I believe you can feel how cool Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks is.
I’m NOT saying that Sumida River Fireworks Festival in summer does not deserve to see. Importantly, fireworks last for 2 hours in Sumida River beside they do only for 10 minutes in Odaiba. The difference is BIG. If you hope to see the best of bests, I never stop those who are planning to visit Tokyo on the day of Sumida River Fireworks.
However, if you want to view Japanese fireworks casually, Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks in December is really a hidden gem.
There are situations where we should throw away common sense – Japanese fireworks in winter, not summer.
Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks
17:00 – (Called off when rough weather) at Tokyo Bay near the Statue of Liberty
How to Get to Odaiba
There are 2 major ways.
1: Yurikamome Line from Shimbashi
To catch a Yurikamome Line train, go to Shimbashi Station of JR Yamanote Line or Keihin-Tohoku Line first. Shimbashi is the terminal of Yurikamome.
See The Easiest JR Train Map of Tokyo to understand.
2: Rinkai Line
If you are in Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ebisu or Oimachi, just get on a Rinkai Line train. Remember that Rinkai Line is called Saikyo Line in Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ebisu, etc. (Saikyo Line trains go through Rinkai Line, so you don’t need to change trains.) Get off at Tokyo Teleport Station and you are in Odaiba.
- Cruising: Another Option of Transportation in Tokyo, Japan
- Decks Official Website: http://www.odaiba-decks.com/ (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean and Google Translate)
- Aqua City Odaiba Official Website: http://www.aquacity.jp/ (Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean)
The luxury hotels in Odaiba offers stunning views from your guest room. (Read more about Hilton Tokyo Odaiba.) If you don’t book a hotel in Odaiba, I encourage you to do in Shimbashi, Shibuya, Shinjuku or somewhere you have a good access to Odaiba.