>  Featured   >  Nagaoka Fireworks Festival Guide – reports and tips from 2023
2024/06/19   2024/07/06

The Nagaoka Fireworks Festival is one of three major fireworks festivals in Japan, attracting more than 1 million visitors each year.

This article introduces how it is like based on my own experience in 2023.


    What is the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival?

    The Nagaoka Fireworks Festival’s Grad Fireworks is held at the Shinano River in Niigata on August 2 and 3 each year. This is  is one of three major fireworks festivals in Japan, attracting more than 1 million visitors each year. The sky is filled with beautiful fireworks with thoughts of peace.

    How to buy the ticket?

    To watch the Nagaoka Fireworks inside the venue, you must purchase the tickets online during the following periods.

    For international visitors (Non-residents of Japan) ONLY

    May 27 – June 6, 2024 (first-come-first-served basis)

    For all the visitors

    May 27 – June 6, 2024 (by lottery)

    June 27 – July 12 (first-come-first-served basis) *If there are seats left.

    During July (first-come-first-served basis) *If there are seats left.

    Please find more details on their website.

    Last year we were not selected for the photographer seats in the lottery during the general sales last May, and purchased tickets for the athletic field seats in June. The ticket was 2,000 per person in 2023 (4,000 yen in 2024).

    長岡花火 チケット

    How the day was like

    For the 2023 Nagaoka Fireworks Festival, the show started at 7:20 pm, and admission to the venue began at 3:00 pm. We came from Tokyo on Thursday, August 3 to see the fireworks, and stayed in Niigata for one night.

    Here, I will introduce how the day was like hoping that you will find them helpful in planning your day.

    2:16 pm Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagaoka

    We took the Shinkansen at 2:16 pm to head to Nagaoka. Some people were already waring yukata! We arrived a little early, but it was quite a good timing to have some time to enjoy food and drinks around before the fireworks.

    3:51 pm Arrived at Nagaoka station

    Nagaoka station was already filled with people. 

    It takes 30 minutes to the venue A from the station, while an hour to the venue B because you have to cross the bridge. Please make sure that you have enough time to get there.

    4:00 pm Enjoy food stalls

    On the way to the venue, there were many food stalls. It was fun to stop by and eat and drink on the way.

    Especially, City Hall Plaza Aore Nagaoka, a five-minute walk from the station, has lots of stalls and it was a good place to enjoy.

    You could also buy the event T-shirts.

    Even after City Hall, you could find many stalls selling fried chicken, yakisoba (fried noodles), and pizza etc. You could easily buy food and drinks, so you don’t need to bring them all the way.

    4:30 pm Arrived around venue A

    After working for about 30 minutes, we arrived at the area around venue A. Venue B is across the bridge, so it takes another 30 minutes. There is no shade, so you had better bring your hat and parasol.

    5:00 pm Arrived at our seats at venue B

    After 1 hour walk, we finally arrived at our athletic field seats.

    Inside the athletic field, we could seat anywhere. Each person was given a 1.5 square meter area to seat. At 5 pm, the back row was quite filling up, but there was still plenty of space to choose. Basically, you can see the whole fireworks from anywhere in the field, so there was no need to go early to get a spot.

    5:15 pm IEON Nagaoka

    After securing our space, we went to the AEON Nagaoka store, a 6-minute walk away. There were lots of food stalls there too.

    You could also buy a variety of food and alcoholic beverages in the AEON.

    There was food coart, where people could eat and relax.

    Here in the food court, there is a shop called “Friend,” which serves Niigata’s soul food called “Italian.” 

    This “Italian” doesn’t mean food from Italy, but yakisoba (fried noodles) with meat sauce. Thick noodles are covered with a generous amount of meat sauce, with bean sprouts, cabbage, and corn. It is a taste of immorality!

    There are a lot of restrooms, but there was long line, so it’s better to go earlier.

    Also, cell phone reception is bad due to the crowd, it would be better to decide where to meet up with your family and friends in case you become separated.

    7:00 pm Back to the venue

    We returned to the venue at 7 pm for the 7:20 start of the show. The sunset was just beautiful!

    We set up the tripod and got ready for the pictures.

    7:20 pm Fireworks started!!!

    Here are some of the views from the seat of the athletic field at venue B. You could also watch the videos here.


    The fireworks was huge and more powerful than I had imagined!

    9:40 pm Out of the venue

    The program ended at 9:15 pm and we went out of the venue. The nearby Ote Bridge was closed until 10 pm, so we had to wait.

    The bridge opend exactly 10 pm and we headed to the station.

    10:40 pm Arrived at Nagaoka station

    It was not so crowded, and it took only 40 minutes to the station.

    Around the station, there was traffic controls. It is better to buy the train ticket beforehand for a smooth ride.

    10:48 pm Shinkansen

    Things went smoothly and we were able to board the Shinkansen at 10:48 pm. There were several extra trains for the day, so it was no crowded and we could even get the seats.

    11:20 pm Arrived at Niigata station

    The train departed at 10:59 pm and arrived safely at Niigata station at 11:20 pm. We got to Juraku Stay Niigata Hotel by 11:30 and were able to take a good rest!

    Nagaoka Fireworks Video

    Here are videos of the 2023 Nagaoka Fireworks festival, taken from the Athletic Field, Venue B.

    My impression

    I expected crowds and chaos since this is a big event that attracts 1 million visitors, but it was surprisingly pleasant throughout.

    Different from fireworks shows in Tokyo, all seats require tickets, so there was no need to save spots from early in the morning, and operations were very well organized, making the event stress-free experience!

    花火 撮影

    The fireworks was so large that sometimes I couldn’t capture the whole within my sights, which was breathtaking, and it was the most impressive fireworks in my life.

    Tips to enjoy Nagaoka Fireworks

    Here are some tips for enjoying the Nagaoka Fireworks that I actually felt from my experience.

    1. Book your hotel beforehand

    Hotels in the Nagaoka and Niigata area are booked up early. Make your reservations as early as possible.

    2. Book your Shinkansen ticket beforehand

    It is recommended that you purchase a reserved seat on the Shinkansen ticket to Nagaoka before it sells out. 

    For your return ticket, purchase a non-reserved seat beforehand. On the way back to the station, it is quite difficult to buy ones because of the crowd.

    3. Note that the mobile signal might not be received

    Around the venue, you will likely lose cell phone reception due to the crowds. I recommend that you decide on a meeting place in case you get separated. Also, be sure to take screenshots of any information you need beforehand, such as how to return or how to take good pictures of fireworks, etc.

    4. Check what to bring in advance

    It is better to prepare necessary belongings in advance so that you won’t forget anything. Some seats require you to bring a plastic sheet by yourself, so check your sheet and be prepared.

    Hope the information is helpful, and you will have a great day at Nagaoka Fireworks Festival!