Summer

Asia Port Festival in Kanmon – The Fireworks Festival of Two Prefectures

Eastflower

Writer

I would like to introduce you “Kanmon Kaikyo Fireworks Festival”(関門海峡花火大会)or Asia Port Festival in Kanmon, which is held during Obon time annually. Kanmon Kaikyo is a strait between Honshu and Kyushu islands. The name “Kan mon” (関門) originates from the names of two cities on opposite sides of the strait and takes one character from each name. “Kan” (関) stands for the city of Shimonoseki (下関), which is a city on the Honshu island in Yamaguchi Prefecture. “門” stands for the city of Moji (門司), in Fukuoka Prefecture on Kyushu island.

Both Shimonoseki and Moji are important ports especially to access Honshu and Kyushu. You can cross Kanmon Kaikyo strait, not only by ships but also by trains including Shinkansen Line. You can cross the strait even by car or walk through a tunnel.

What is Obon?

Fireworks festival at Kanmon Kaikyo started in 1985 for the people, who returned to the hometown for Obon vacation. Obon is one of the most important Japanese traditions. People believe that their ancestor’s spirits come back to their homes to be reunited with their family during Obon. For this reason, it is a significant family gathering time, as many people return to their hometowns to pray together with their extended family for their ancestors’ spirit to return.

During Obon, Japanese people are cleaning their houses and are placing a variety of food offerings such as vegetables and fruits to the spirits of their ancestors in front of a Buddhist altar.

Chochin – lanterns and arrangements of flowers are usually placed by the altar as another offering. On the first day of Obon, Chochin lanterns are lit inside houses. Also, people bring the lanterns to their family’s grave sites to invite their ancestor’s spirits back home. On the last day, families assist in returning their ancestor’s souls to the grave, by hanging the Chochin lanterns, decorated with the family crest to guide the spirits to their eternal resting place. This process is called Okuri-Bon. During the Obon time, the smell of Senko – incense sticks fills Japanese houses and cemeteries which creates a charming but very mysterious atmosphere.

Kanmon Kaikyo Fireworks Festival – a Sound & Light Performance

Asia Port Festival in Kanmon started in 1985, and both prefectures host the event from different islands. 15,000 splendid fireworks are launched from both sides of the strait. This festival attracts more than a million spectators every year. However, only from 1988, Moji side joined the celebration along with Shimonoseki. The fireworks which consist of skyrockets and set-piece fireworks make one of the most eminent fireworks displays in Japan. I am pretty sure that the contrast between continuously launched fireworks and a night view of 10 million dollars will impress you.

Enjoy a Variety of Fireworks

At the opening part, you can see the Sea Image Fireworks with sounds. Next will be single fireworks and continuous fireworks. One of the distinctive features of this popular display is Underwater Fireworks. These fireworks have a shape of a semicircle And form a beautiful fire arch on the surface of the ocean. You can enjoy the beautiful reflection on the water surface a well.

However, the highlight of this fireworks festival is approximately 100 shakudama fireworks. These are big fireworks which can reach 450 meters in diameter in the night sky. The shakudama fireworks are launched from Shimonoseki and Moji sides.

Details and Access

Date and TimeThe festival take place annually during Obon in August. For example, in 2018 it will be on August 13  (Monday) from 19:40 to 20:40.

Venues:

【Shimonoseki Side】

・Arukaport Shimonoseki

Arukaport 1, Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi-ken

・Kaikyo Yume Tower

3-3-1, Buzenda-Cho, Shimonoseki-shi

・Kammon Worf

6-1, Karato-Cho, Shimonoseki-shi

・Karato Ichiba

5-50, Karato-Cho, Shimonoseki-shi

【Moji Side】

Moji-ko, port,  Moji West Coast Filled Ground Area

Nishi-kaigan Umetatechi, Moji-Ku, Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka-ken

 TEL: 093-331-8781 (Fireworks Committee, Moji)

 Access

・Shimonoseki Side:

15-20 minutes on foot from JR Shimonoseki station

・Moji Side:

5 minutes on foot from JR Moji-ko station

Closing Remarks

Kanmon Kaikyo Fireworks Festival or Asia Port Festival in Kanmon is one of the largest and most popular fireworks festivals in Japan. For sure it is the most popular one in Yamaguchi Prefecture. This is a unique festival where you can see the fireworks that take off from small boats from two different islands and create an unforgettable scenery in the night sky over the Kanmon straight! Don`t miss your chance to see it if you are in Yamaguchi or Fukuoka in Audust.

If you would like to attend this festival with local guides, or explore the region and discover something that you won`t be able to find in a guidebook, please click on the banner below!

All images are courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

Do You Like Fireworks Festivals?

Hope you enjoyed reading this article and it made you want to visit the Asia Port Fireworks Festival! However, there are a lot of fireworks festivals and events in summer, as fireworks festivals are one of the traditional events in Japan. Put on your Yukata and getas, meet your friends and enjoy a beautiful night sky lit up with thousands of colorful fireworks!
If you are planning to visit Japan to see fireworks, the following article picked the top 11 best fireworks (or Hanabi) festivals for you!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4269/

How About Lantern Festivals?

If you’d like to enjoy more calm atmosphere with cozy yellow lights instead of crowdy fireworks festivals, lantern festivals are what you should experience. Lantern festivals in Japan are very popular, and you can see it in any season. If you would like to know more about the most popular lantern festivals in Japan, please click on the link below and you will find an article on best 13 lantern festivals in this unique country!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5021/

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5363/

Eastflower

l am living in Nagoya, the third largest city located between Tokyo and Osaka. I am looking forword to introducing you about wonderful festivals in Japan.

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