Simple Guideline to Japanese Handheld Fireworks: How and Where to Play



Fireworks have been one of the traditions in summer with many festivals throughout the country and can get crowded. While these dynamic large fireworks that color the night sky are beautiful, going into the crowds may be a hustle and bustle. Yet, on the other hand, handheld fireworks can be enjoyed quietly with friends and families and above all, at any time of the season.Here are some simple guides to help you understand about such handheld fireworks.

  • 01

    Precautions before setting off handheld fireworks

    Handheld fireworks may be purchased yearly at discount shops like Don Quijote and convenience stores, but mainly during the firework seasons in summer. Some go out to their garden to play, while some, go to nearby parks, beaches or by the riverside where these handheld fireworks are allowed to be played. Keep in mind that each location has their own rules regarding fireworks so before you go, make sure to check. In some cases, a fine will be imposed on those violating the rule.

  • 02

    Things to Prepare

    A bucket of water, a garbage bag, candle and a fire extinguisher. Many tend to prefer to use a cigarette lighter because of the convenience. However, because there is a risk of getting burned by the sparks when using a cigarette lighter, the correct way to light handheld fireworks is to use a candle. Depending on the weather, the candle may be troublesome as the fire can easily be extinguished due to wind. Alternatively, mosquito coils may come in handy for both repelling insects and for attaching fuses for fireworks.

  • 03

    How to play

    In most of the packages, there is a guideline to how to lit the end of the fireworks. Every year, there are reports of people getting burnt due to lighting the wrong end of the fireworks. So make sure to see the manual before playing.
    Make sure to always point the lit end of the fireworks at the ground. Then, make sure to prepare a bucket full of water to put the fireworks in after they went out to prevent the fire from spreading over the ground.

    Sample image of the manual that comes with the handheld fireworks

    Sample image of the manual that comes with the handheld fireworks

  • 04

    Most Common Handheld Fireworks

    Japanese handheld fireworks come with dozens of variations from those that burn brightly in different colors to ones that burn quietly and slowly. However, the most common ones that come most likely in every package are the following two types.

    Sparkler “Senko Hanabi”

    This incense stick looking firework is a traditional one and although this one is a small firework, the sparks which come out in different directions are enjoyable. The characteristic of sparklers is its "fragile" nature with delicate sparks gradually start to fly from a small red ball of fire and gradually gain momentum until they finally fall. This type of fireworks are supposed to be held very still over a bucket with water unlike the rest. To make this even more thrilling, many tend to have a contest to see whose sparklers dropped last. Make sure to set off the firework on top of the bucket with water to avoid any burns on your foot.

    Pampas grass “Susuki” Firework

    Just like the name, “pampas grass”, the characteristics of this type of firework has a bushy tip. Light the bushy part and the powerful fire is set off. Make sure to set it off in an open area with no one standing near you as the fires are quite dynamic and the long sparks shoot forward. Many make a mistake when lighting this, but the fire must be put on the bushy part.

  • 05

    Unique but dangerous handheld firework

    Nezumi fireworks, literally translated as mouse fireworks, are dangerous but popular types of handheld fireworks. Like a mouse, this firework runs fast and spins around and eventually explodes. As it spins, the sparks shoot all over and have a higher risk of burning. Similarly, there is a snake type which slithers like a snake while it's burning.

  • 06

    Where Can Handheld Fireworks Be Played?

    The best way is to play in a garden at someone’s house as there is no complete list of parks and riversides that allow handheld fireworks. However, the following parks allow handheld fireworks but depending on the social situation etc., playing with handheld fireworks may be restricted.

    In Tokyo

    Komazawa Olympic Park General Sports Ground

    Futako Tamagawa Park

    Hanegi Park

    Setagaya Park

    Hikarigaoka Park
    ※need to apply to do handheld fireworks

    In Osaka

    Rinku Park

    Hattori Osaka Park

    Yamadaike Park

    Oizumi Ryokuchi Park

    Komazawa Olympic Park
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Komazawakouen 1-1
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