A highlight of October in Saitama Prefecture are the Konosu fireworks display, famed for launching the largest firework in the world. I have been in Japan for twenty years. I have seen fireworks all over Japan, indeed even saw them in Konosu a few times, but few were as memorable as the 2022 Konosu Firework Display. Largely, thanks to the surprise Pokemon Drone show:
The Konosu fireworks are the largest autumn firework display in Kanto and one of the largest of the whole year. They normally launch approximately 15,000 fireworks, which is what they plan for 2022 too. But in 2019 they were actually aiming for 20,000 until typhoon Hagibis happened.
One of the highlights of this festival is that they launch 300 shakudama consecutively. Shakudama are the largest type of fireworks in existence. Moreover, they launch about 75 at the same time, the record in Japan for the most fireworks launched consecutively. Shakudama require a lot of space, so you can’t see these type of fireworks in some displays in Tokyo for example. However, in 2022 they didn’t launch the 3 or 4 feet wide shakudama, “due to the pandemic”. But I am pleased to say, they are coming back in 2023.
In addition, Konosu fireworks are also known nationwide since 2014 when they set a new world record by launching the heaviest / largest aerial firework shell ever. It was approximately 464 kilograms and exploded into a (just under) 800 meters ball of light. From the Guinness World Records official website:
The pyrotechnic exploded into a huge ball of orange light, estimated to measure more than 2,500ft, before fizzling out in a bright green hue.Guiness World Records
※It is not yet known if they will have a drone show in 2023. Even if they have one, they might not announce it in advance. And / or they might not say what the theme of the drone show is. Part of the magic of last year (2022) was the surprise element of the Pokemon Go drone show.
Generally, around the same time of the fireworks you can enjoy the beautiful site of millions of Cosmos in Konosu:
Konosu Fireworks Viewing areas
It is estimated that between approximately 400,000 to 500,000 people venture to Konosu to enjoy the firework’s show each year. There are stalls and booths selling food and drink at allocated areas near the launch site. Generally, there are three principle viewing areas – two in Konosu and one in Yoshimi – with a “festival stall village”. In 2023 there will be four viewing areas. But please note, this year the two Nukata viewing areas are not free. The free viewing area this year is in the Mamuro poppy fields, which is actually (marginally) closer to the station! The fireworks start from 6 pm, but people arrive much earlier than that to secure a spot to sit, with blue sheets and/or picnic blankets.
You can pay to book a seating area in advance, with great views and allocated space. Tickets for the reserved seating area in 2023 go on sale from 10 am on Saturday August 12th 2023. You can purchase them at any Lawson convenience store and / or Ministop’s Loppi terminals. There are 4500 reserved seats available and 10,000 sponsored seats at the venue.
Make a night of it?
If you are into camping and would like to make a night of it, the Yoshimi Hatchoko Park Camping Ground is somewhat within walking distance of the Yoshimi viewing area for the fireworks. I advise you book in advance; last year there were quite a few families there, word will get around! Some of the families opted to watch the fireworks from the campsite, but we walked down to the Yoshimi Multi Purpose Sports Park viewing area. It took about 45 minutes! But we avoided the chaos of the traffic in the area, which is just chockablock from around 3 or 4 pm. Please note the camping ground is quite basic, but cheap!
Event: Konosu Fireworks 2023 第２０回鴻巣花火大会
Date: Saturday October 7th 2023. They usually have a back up date, generally the following day, but as of August 8th that information is not yet available for 2023. (Occasionally, as happened in 2019, the fireworks are completely cancelled if there is a bad typhoon around the time).
Time: from 6 pm
Cost: there is no admission fee, unless you want a reserved seat. Prices for reserved seats start from 5000 yen. As per above, tickets go on sale from August 12th 2023.
Venue: Konosu Fireworks charged viewing area, こうのす花火大会糠田有料観覧会場 Nukata, Konosu, Saitama 365-0059. The Nukata viewing area has a cover charge in 2023 and you need to purchase a ticket in advance. The free area in 2023 is at the Mamuro Poppy fields. 3G22+72, Konosu, Saitama 365-0044. View on Google Maps.
Konosu Fireworks Access
The main free viewing area is about a 25 minute walk from Konosu station, 鴻巣駅, on the JR Takasaki line ＪＲ高崎線. There are signs and wardens directing people in the right direction, from the station.
By car: there is parking for 1500 cars in Konosu in 2023 and for 3000 cars in Yoshimi. Map for the parking lots in 2023. It costs
2000 3000 yen for the day. Trust me when I say – the roads are absolutely jammed and traffic at a stand still from 4 pm on the day. If you can, you are best parking your car before 2 pm! The parking lot in Konosu opens at 7 am and the one in Yoshimi at 9 am.
First published in 2008, updated annually, republished every few years. Last republish August 22nd 2022. Last update August 8th 2023.