Studying in Japan — Destin’s ISE Experience

Japanese and American Flags
Fireworks Festival in Japan
Fireworks at Japanese Fireworks Festival

By: Destin

My First Hanabi Taikai (Fireworks Festival)
Hello! My name is Destin and I am currently participating in an ISE exchange program in Japan. I would like to share the experience so far!

One of the main things I knew I wanted to do once I was in Japan was to attend a fireworks festival. I’ve seen them in dramas and anime since I was a kid and always thought the displays were stunning! So it was no surprise that when summer rolled around and I was invited to one in Mito, I jumped at the opportunity!

I ended up going to the festival wearing a Yukata, a traditional Japanese summer kimono, and walking from the station to the grounds where the festival was being held. The walk was about 30 minutes and it sure was hot! However, the conversations my friends and I had while walking made it an overall enjoyable walk. Plus, there are convenience stores everywhere here, so we stopped to get ice cream halfway through which helped with the heat!

Once at the festival, it was packed with people. At some points, we could barely walk and had no idea where we were actually headed. In order to secure a good spot to watch the fireworks, we skipped the food and scaled a small hill. To our delight, when we arrived at the top there was barely anyone there! We ended up sitting on the grass and had a great view of the fireworks. The fireworks themselves lasted around an hour, but apparently, they used to set them off for longer. It’s just this year they had a smaller budget for some reason. Still, the experience was nothing short of a dream.

After the fireworks, we looked around for food, but with the high prices and limited selection, we decided it would be best to walk to a nearby McDonald’s and end the night there. All in all, I had a blast and I definitely recommend attending a fireworks festival if you ever visit Japan in the summer whether it be as a tourist or an exchange student.

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