The Ina Summer Festival and fireworks is actually (currently) scheduled to go ahead in 2022 despite the pandemic. There have been many more summer festivals this year than the last two years combined, but most of them have been in cities rather than towns. It is lovely to see a smaller local type summer festival, such as this one, scheduled for this August. Moreover, with so many fireworks cancelled this year (and last, and the year before) it was quite a surprise to hear that Inamachi plan to go ahead with theirs! A pleasant surprise!
However, like Kawagoe City, who will also have a ‘normal’ firework display this year, Ina Town is celebrating an anniversary this year! They decided to go ahead with the fireworks, despite the pandemic, because it is the twenty year anniversary of the town. Ina Town was inaugurated in 2002. I had no idea Inamachi was so “young” until this year! However, while Ina has only been a town for 20 years, the festival has actually been around for 32 years! It is the first time in three years that either the fireworks or the festival will be on. But both will be on a smaller scale than a ‘normal’ (pre-pandemic) year.
The summer shindig in Inamachi, “Ina Festival”, is a summer festival with fireworks celebrated annually in August at Ina Memorial Park. In a normal year, the mikoshi (portable shrines) are a large part of the festival. However, in 2022, one of the biggest changes to the festival is that they will just display the mikoshi and not parade them around town as usual.
Another significant change is the absence of live performances. Before the pandemic there was bon festival dance that everyone could participate in. In addition, local performers took to the stage to entertain guests with traditional or modern dance or music performances. Furthermore, local children basked in the limelight as they showcased their dance moves or musical talents. All these elements will be greatly missed this year, but there is still plenty to create that all important summer festival atmosphere.
For example, they have some festival stalls including ones with festival games such as a shooting gallery or goldfish scoop. There will also be some food and drink sold at the festival. However, you can not eat at the venue due to measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The food sold is for take out. In addition, there is a strict “no alcohol” policy in 2022. But back to the good stuff…
The fireworks will be launched from 7.30 pm. They haven’t specified how many fireworks they are launching. But there are two separate parts to the fireworks display, which implies it will be a decent enough display. I can count on one hand the number of free firework displays that you can watch on site in Saitama this August. There are also some watch-from-home or watch-online firework displays too. As well as firework displays at amusement parks (Seibuen | Tobu) or hotels that you have to pay into to watch. The biggest at-venue fireworks this August are, as aforementioned, in Kawagoe.
Location: Ina memorial park 伊奈町制施行記念公園 (Chosei Shiko Koen written on Google as Chosei Seko Memorial Park), 732-1 Kobariuchijuku, Ina, Kitaadachi District, Saitama 362-0801. View on Google Maps.
Date: August 20th. The festival maybe postponed until Sunday August 21st if there is rain. Generally, most festivals go ahead if there is just light rain and / or showers, but are cancelled if there is heavy rainfall or a typhoon. You can check the official website, linked below, for any last minute cancellations or changes.
Time: 4 to 8.30 pm, fireworks from 7.30 pm
By public transport: the park is approximately a ten minutes walk from the New Shuttle line Uchijuku station. There are also buses that go from Hasuda Station’s West exit and Okegawa’s east exit called Kenchan bus. However, they are very infrequent at the time on a Saturday so it is advised that you check the schedule here. Alight at Ina Gakuen 伊奈学園 bus stop from Hasuda or Ina Chosei Shiko Kita 記念公園北 bus stop if coming from Okegawa station.
By car: The nearest interchange is the Okegawa-Kano Interchange of the Ken-o expressway. It is about a 12 minute drive away. There is some parking available on the day, but it is extremely limited. They ask, where possible, to come to the festival by public transport. One way system for cars on the day of the festival.