We had been waiting for this day our entire trip. The oldest and biggest fireworks festival was taking place in Asakusa, along the Sumida river. From research on the internet we knew that it began at 7pm and that it could get very crowded so we decided to turn up at the river banks at about 6pm to try and get a good spot. HA! that went well….but more about that later. We decided to use this day to combine the fireworks festival and going to the Sensoji Temple and Kappabashi Street.
We arrived around midday and grabbed a snack from a combini. It was ridiculously hot! as we had been warned, it was quite busy. We made our way towards the first gate marking the entrance to the temple. In it hangs a gigantic lantern.
This marks the entrance to a road know as Nakamise. A shopping road lines with stall leading up to the main temple.
Nakamise shopping road
We pootled down the street, having a look in some of the shops.
Eventually we found oursleves going through another gate with a lantern. We then were in the main temple area. There was another big lantern in the entryway to the temple.
Outside of the main building there were lots of places where you could pay a hundred yen (About 80p) To get a fortune. You shake a metal box and then slide a stick out. The stick has a number on it and you take a fortune from the corresponding drawer.
James shaking the box
Lily shaking the box
We both got number 99, the best fortune!!
it says 99 in kanji, luckily we can read kanji numbers!
The fortune had an English bit!
We then went inside the temple. The ceiling was painted beautifuly.
and here’s what you could look at through the glass:
We went outside and saw a Buddha statue:
Then we decided to go take a look at Kappabashi street. This street is known for being a place you can go to get anything food/cooking related! There were lots of different kinds of shops like this:
But our favourite shops were the ones selling plastic food!!! It looked so amazingly real! It’s also ridiculously expensive!!
And here’s the giant chef that marks the entrance to Kappabashi street:
We then started to head back towards the river as it was about 5pm and we wanted to get there for about 6. On our way down the main road we came across a “Freshness Burger” place (one of the many fast food places in Japan we had heard about). We decided to stop there for some early dinner to et us through the fireworks. And boy are we glad we did!! It was soo delicious! Fast food places here also sell beer….
James and his Freshness beer 😀
Classic cheeseburger, mmmmmmmmmmm
After a lovely meal we continued heading towards the river. It was suddenly getting VERY crowded. We found ourselves being funnelled along streets in crowds of other people, not really sure where we were going.
We were led across a bridge from which we could see the golden poo! (It’s the Asahi building, and I think it’s supposed to be a flame but, well…..look at it……)
We were then funnelled thorugh a series of small streets and throngs of people until we eventually managed to get back to the river (although we were now on the opposite side). At this point it was only 6pm but everywhere was packed!! Every single piece of grass had someone on it, and people had marked off area to reserve them for later. Even from a spot way back where we couldn’t even see the river and most of the sky was blocked by trees, it was still packed!
Lily took the opportunity of having an hour until the fireworks to take some pictures. There were lots of people wearing kimonos and yukatas.
I like the facial expression here!
James did some reading to pass the time:
Eventually the fireworks started and everyone crowded towards the river. We managed to catch a few glimpses, although a huge overpass blocked most of it. We moved to several differnet spots but it was so crowded we couldn’t really get s good view. The atmosphere was still amazing though. Here are some bad pictures of the fireworks:
About half an hour in (and an hour before the end) we decided so start trying to find our station to get home (because we thought it would probably take us that long to find and get to it!) When we tried to get back across the bridge we had come over, we weren’t allowed! It was now one way apparently. After quite a while of walking around we managed to find another subway entrance and saw that we could get on this line and get off in two stops to change to our line to get home. It was still really crowded, even this far from the fireworks, and all of the streets were pedestrianised.
So after 2 stops on the subway we got off and saw the signs for our line (the Oedo line) we followed them and ended up back outside!! Back in the masses of people watching fireworks! We saw the signs for our line and followed them with haste, however just as we were reaching the entrance, the fireworks ended and suddenly hundreds of people were crowding towards the same subway station as us! It was a long and full ride back home, but we got home in the end.
That’s all for now!