Ube Port Fireworks Festival – a Mix of Traditions With New Technologies



You would ask, what is the connection between Ube Port Fireworks Festival and Fullmetal Alchemist? In Fullmetal Alchemist – a popular Japanese manga series set in is a fictional country where alchemy is one of the most prevalent sciences, State Alchemists (translated as “国家錬金術師 (Kokka-renkinjutsushi)”, working for the government, use their unique knowledge of chemistry and mathematics collaborated with magical operative procedures in order to create all kinds of things the government desires, mainly for the military purpose.  Alchemy used to be once studied around the world. The common aims were to transmute base metals into noble metals (especially gold). Also, to create an elixir of life which can cure any disease.

Especially in medieval China, research for this kind of proto-science was actively conducted under the auspices of the emperors of the dynasties. Gunpowder, which, of course, is needed to explode fireworks, was what happened to be invented through the experimentation of making those dream stuff. After the discovery of gunpowder, the art and science of firework making gradually developed into an independent profession. Fireworks artisans engaged in the profession started to be thought of as actual alchemists. Therefore, fireworks technicians became respected for their knowledge of complex techniques in launching fireworks.

At Ube Port Fireworks Festival, music and digital technologies are added to the traditional pyrotechnics show. You can enjoy the well-balanced fusion of old and new technologies.

About the Festival

Ube Port Fireworks Festival is an annual fireworks event that started in 1955. Since then it has become well established and popular with the locals and many other tourists that come from areas around the city as well. Fireworks are shot off from the launching site of the port area. There are no tall buildings or structures that can block your view on the fireworks. So, you can enjoy the beautiful blooming of about 13,000 stars in the night sky. The festival attracts over 120,000 visitors every year, which means that it has the largest scale in Yamaguchi Prefecture in the number of viewers and fireworks.

Festival Breakdown

The fireworks show consists of six main programs where you can see many types of fireworks: single shot types such as “chrysanthemums,” “peonies” or “palms; auto fire “cakes”; star mines and so on. At the past festivals, there were also such fireworks as Kitty shells or Smiley shells designed for kids to enjoy.

The Pyro Musical Show

The dominant feature of the festival, above all, is a “music fireworks” show. About 3,000 shells of fireworks are launched from special computer-programmed launchers to the accompaniment of pop music. The pyro-musical performance, though taking just about 5 minutes, will overwhelm your whole body and mind.

Live Broadcasting on Radio

Also, you can hear the music and fireworks on a local FM radio station called FM Kirara (80.4MHz). So, people of the festival site can feel as if they were at the venue. Using this service, you can feast your eyes and ears on the beautiful starry night and enjoy good music from a certain distance without bothering to move through a big crowd. Please check some video clips from the past fireworks festivals on YouTube!

Things to Do at Ube Port Festival

Nothing says as much about the festival like the number of eateries and food stalls lining the streets. How about enjoying some local goodies there?

Bari Soba

Bari Soba fried noodles has its name from a Japanese word “がんばり(Gam-bari)” or perseverance. These noodles are crispy chow served with lots of vegetables on top and doused with a smooth chicken broth. The ingredients include cabbage, pork, shiitake mushrooms, kamaboko (steamed fish paste: one of Ube’s local specialties), bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, cloud ear mushrooms, squids, scallops, and so on. Sounds healthy, doesn’t it?

Ube Ramen

Are you a ramen fan? Ube ramen is a ramen dish famous among local people. The noodles used in this ramen are medium thick served in a white, rich pork bone based “tonkotsu” broth. You will find this ramen has a strong aroma coming from the broth. Ikkyu (or “一久”) is one of the most famous ramen shops serving Ube ramen dishes in the city. It is also popular among anime fans. You can find for a second on the paper lid of a cup noodles product in a scene from Evangelion New Trilogy movie.

Details and Access

Date: Third Saturday of July every year

Time: 20:00 – 21:00

Place: Ube Port

Reference: Ube Fireworks Festival Executive Committee in Ube Chamber of Commerce (Phone: 0836-31-0251)

Access (railroad): For Ube Port

  • 20 min walk from Ube-Shinkawa Station on the JR Ube Line (Free shuttle bus services available between the station and the festival site.)
  • 10 min walk from Kotoshiba Station on the JR Ube Line

Access (car):

  • 20 min drive from Ube IC on the Sanyo Expressway
  • 20 min drive from Ube South IC on the Yamaguchi-Ube Expressway

Closing Remarks

In medieval China, people believed that fireworks could remove evil spirits and bring luck and happiness to people, so pyrotechnists were considered as alchemists that can create whatever they desired. And now fireworks with new digital technologies will make you feel even more than happiness.

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!


More Lantern Festivals

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and it made you want to visit this great festival. Lantern festivals in Japan are very popular, and you can see it in any season. If you would like to know more about other lantern festivals in Japan, enjoy its mystical atmosphere, and admire a glowing night in Japan, please click on the link below and you will find an article on the best 13 lantern festivals in Japan!


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!



Have two kids. Teach English at an “eikaiwa” school more than a decade Love cake.

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