“The night sky was covered in light. I’ve never seen fireworks like this before.” “The only thing I could see was the flashes and explosions! It was just amazing.” “It was like a dream. I’m so glad that I was there.”
These are just a few comments from people who have experienced the Fukuroi Enshu Fireworks Festival from the special seats. This festival held in Fukuroi, Shizuoka prefecture every summer is one of the biggest fireworks festivals in Japan.
Colorful flashes cover your sight, as the night is filled with the sound of explosions and cheers from the crowd.
In Japanese, this sort of view that one can never see in normal daily life is called “zekkei.”
The scale and the number of fireworks at the Fukuroi Enshu Fireworks Festival are great, but the “zekkei” that you can experience here is to be found in the moments when your eyes and ears are blanketed by the sight and sound of fireworks.
The fireworks festival is held at a riverbed on the outskirts of town, so you can see the fireworks from a distance. But it is said that you can only enjoy this “zekkei” from a limited area; the special seats inside the venue. There are two kinds of special seat. One is a “sponsor seat” and the other is a “paid seat.”
You can see “zekkei” under certain conditions, when the weather and the position of the sun are just right. There are essentially two conditions that create zekkei at the Fukuroi Enshu Fireworks.
1. You must be sitting in one of the special seats that is placed at the optimal angle to enjoy fireworks.
2. There must be wind blowing when fireworks are launched.
These two conditions have to be fulfilled.
The reason for the first condition is that the fireworks technicians try to display their best fireworks for the judges in the special seats. This festival is also the “National Fireworks Expert Tournament”, an event in which fireworks technicians from all over Japan compete. That is the reason why the flashes and sound of fireworks accumulate around the special seats the most.
And the spectators who have experienced “zekkei” also mention the sound as it can only be heard from the location of the special seats. Those seats are closest to the area where the fireworks are launched. Furthermore, special effects such as how the fireworks are launched in time to music played inside the venue also contribute to the experience of “drifting in a sea of light.”
The second condition is most difficult to ensure, because nothing can be done to control the weather. Fukuroi Enshu Fireworks Festival is held only once a year and is affected by wind at that moment.
The wind must blow from three directions: north, west, and east.
It is also said that wind speeds of two to three meters per second are most desirable.
Because so many fireworks are launched, clouds of smoke will hide their flashes if there is no wind. Without wind, there can be no “zekkei”.
One of the locals who goes to the “Fukuroi Enshu Fireworks Festival” every year says “Even if you get a ticket for the special seat, because of wind and rain, the conditions for zekkei are only met once every few years.” You only get a chance to see “zekkei” once per year, and the conditions are not easily cleared, but that makes it all the more special if you are able to experience it.
Get a ticket for either a “paid seat” or a “sponsor seat” and wait for the conditions to be cleared. (Anyone can be a sponsor.) The weather on midsummer night is unpredictable. You will never know if the conditions are cleared or not. But if you are able to experience zekkei, it is fate. It means you are one of the lucky few. Come visit Shizuoka and experience drifting in a sea of light!
50 people can be seated in each block. The blocks are divided by ropes. Check signs and look for your seat. The inside of each block is not divided for each person. Visitors must share the space with others. Please share this great experience kindly with others.
A space of 85cm x 90cm is available for each person. Visitors will sit on a field of grass that is kept cut short. Please bring your own ground tarp.
■Block Seats ABCD (Chair Seats)
These chair seats are located behind (south of) the Block Seat area. Block Seats ABCD with folding chairs are set on a stage that is 1m higher than the ground level. Because visitors can enjoy the fireworks from the high stage, and the fireworks will be all launched in front of them, this is the best area to sit.
There are also restrooms close by.
■Block Seats “あ” Pair Ticket (Chair Seats)
Block “あ” Pair Ticket Reserved Chair Seats are located on the western edge of the paid seat area. Because there are food stalls right behind the seat, it is a convenient place to go get something eat.
■Family Seats (A group can contain 6 people)
6 people cant fit in a block of Family Seats, which has an area of 210m x 180 m. The area is set on a high hill and the view is great. The fireworks will be launched right in front of you. It is not necessary to have a party of 6 people to reserve a block, but 4 adults with 2 children is recommended.
Of course, visitors can enjoy the beautiful fireworks free of charge from areas such as the park or the free areas on the riverbed of the Haranoya River. However, paid seats are recommended if you wish to enjoy the spectacular “zekkei” view.