Fireworks are a typical form of summertime entertainment in Japan. While there are many festivals, Shimonoseki, located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, co-hosts one of the biggest fireworks festivals in all of Japan. With this handy guide, we’ll teach you how to escape the city crowds and enjoy the night show from the small but scenic Ganryu Island.
Home of a Famous Duel
Ganryu Island, well-known as the place where a famous duel took place between master swordsmen Musashi Miyamoto and Kojiro Sasaki, welcomes a large number of tourists every year. With a circumference of 1.6 kilometers (1 mi), Ganryu is a fairly small island, but it has a lovely coastal park and many photogenic monuments and statues of Musashi and Kojiro. In the photos above, you can see the two fighters dueling against the fireworks as well as during the daytime.
The island isn’t connected to the mainland by bridges, so the only access is by boat. There are regular boats from both Shimonoseki and Mojiko Ports, but during the fireworks festival the best bet is the special boat from Hikojima’s Enoura Wharf. It provides service even late after the festival has ended. The boat takes about three minutes and costs ¥1,000 per person, round trip.
A Spacious Viewing Area
Compared to one of the crowded viewing spots in the city, it’s unbelievably nice watching the show from the island. Many families bring a barbecue set for a small picnic or have lunch boxes. Those who want to enjoy the fireworks without the statues of Musashi and Kojiro should head to the beach area along the promenade. Be sure to watch for the variety of ships and boats crossing the Kanmon Straits as you wait for the fireworks to start.
Fireworks Illuminate Kanmon Bridge
The Kanmon-kaikyo Fireworks Festival is jointly organized by Shimonoseki and Kitakyushu (the city across the water in Fukuoka Prefecture). Over 13,000 fireworks light up the sky along both banks of the Kanmon Straights. The show is almost like a competition between the two sides, and is definitely a sight to see! Being able to watch the fireworks from this fantastic spot feels like quite a luxurious experience. Keep in mind, the photo above shows the fireworks from the Shimonoseki side.
The Night’s Still Young!
You can take in not only the fireworks but also the nightscape. Many luxury ships come to the Kanmon Straits for the festival, and watching their dazzling lights is yet another sight to enjoy. You can see brilliant belts of lights around the big ships as well as the lights of smaller boats returning to their ports after the fireworks have ended. Views like these are characteristic of big fireworks shows in Japan.
All aspects of Yamaguchi Prefecture’s biggest fireworks festival can be fully enjoyed from Ganryu Island. Make the trip out to this this quiet and spacious spot and experience the amazing light show in the sky!
Address: Funashima, Hikoshima, Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Access: Approx. 10 minutes by Kanmon Kisen from Mojiko Pier (a 3-minute walk from JR Mojiko Station) or Shimonoseki Karato Pier (next to Shimonoseki Grand Hotel) phone: 083-231-1350 Hotel: Booking here!!