Last Saturday I attended the Yodogawa Fireworks Festival, one of the biggest fireworks events in Osaka. Huge crowds gather at the riverside to watch around 20,000 fireworks launch during the 50-minute show!
I arrived at JR Tsukamoto station about an hour before the display started, the streets were already full of people shuffling down towards the riverside(north side of the river has the best view).
Before too long I arrived at the viewing area, where everyone was being corralled in by police with loudhailers. This event is free, but there are many ticketed areas, carefully walled so free-visitors have a more obscured view. I asked about a free area and was told “just here” – referring to the access road to the paid areas, people were just sitting down.
I headed down the river a bit and eventually found a proper free spot, it was pretty full but there was a slope behind people were starting to head for, so I followed along. We got a little told off by the police, but once we sat down they didn’t seem to care.
I was a bit worried all the floodlights nearby would ruin the view, but they shut off once the display began.
The display had great variation, even shapes! I saw, hearts, watermelons, mushrooms, stars and a smiley face
Leaving was a nightmare, I got the finish time wrong and had planned to leave 10 minutes early to beat the crowd, instead I was in the thick of it. An already hot evening became unbearable when surrounded but thousands of people, and the exit from the riverside was a bottleneck so getting out took forever. It was so busy that entry to Tsukamoto station was being carefully controlled – although that’s probably a good thing safety wise.
The fireworks were first-rate, but I didn’t think much of the viewing area and the crazy crowds always get to me. Next time, I’ll probably arrange a better viewing spot in advance!