The Nagaoka Festival is held from August 1st to August 3rd around the Shinano River in Nagaoka City. 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 both days.
The festival also has food tents with traditional Niigata cuisine: Kanzuri (a special seasoning made by leaving chili peppers exposed on snow, then adding flour, salt and yuzu), Hegi-Soba (soba with a special kind of seaweed), Sasa-dango (Japanese rice cake filled with red bean paste, seasoned with mugwort and wrapped in bamboo leaves) and others.
The main fireworks viewing areas require tickets to enter. 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 over the two days, so make sure you have your transport and accommodation organized in advance.