The Nagaoka Festival is held from August 1 to 3 every year around the Shinano River in Nagaoka City. The first day will be a peace ceremony and Aug 2 to 3 will have fireworks.
Its main attractions are the portable shrine float parades and folk dance processions during the day with large-scale fireworks displays in the evening on the final two days.
Where to see the fireworks
The main fireworks viewing areas require tickets to enter (prices starting from ¥1,000). However, as with most fireworks festivals in Japan, if you’re prepared to watch from slightly further away, you can watch for free. Organisers claim over 1 million spectators attend, so make sure you have your transport and accommodation organized in advance.
Nagaoka is directly accessible from Tokyo via bullet train in an hour and forty minutes, costing nearly ¥10,000 for an unreserved seat. If you want to keep costs down you can catch local trains, although this will take nearly six hours. There are buses available from Tokyo with prices starting from about ¥3,900 and a journey time of around three and a half hours.
There are a cluster of business hotels located around the main station in Nagaoka. For a simple room you can choose from the Hotel Hokke Club or the Hotel New Otani which both have Western rooms and economy options. If you want to up the comfort level head to the Teradomari Misaki Onsen Hotel which is out on the coast.Organizers may cancel events, alter schedules, or change admission requirements without notice. Always check official sites before heading to an event.