The Tokachi Fireworks Festival – The Largest Hokkaido has to Offer


The 十勝花火大会 (Tokachi・Hanabi・Taikai) is the largest display of explosions and entertainment the Great White Island (Hokkaido) has to offer to the world. In other words, it’s just a giant pissing contest, but hey I must have pissed my pants at least once.

So if you like country-bumpkin life, grand displays of fireworks and massive amounts of people as much as I do then you’re going to love what Tokachi has to offer.

First things first, What is Obihiro?

Obihiro is a major city of Hokkaido that lies almost central in all of the prefecture.  It’s most well known for a variety of agricultural products, but if you’d ask me, I’d say what stands out most is its buta-don [1].

Of all of Japan’s culinary treats, it doesn’t get any simpler than this. For some reason though, people go banana sandwiches over it. I too admit that in the past I’ve gone a little overboard over it. If you’d ask my girlfriend, she’d say I shiated my pants a couple of times over it.  But hey, the truth lies somewhere in between, just a little closer toward me. Amirite?

Anyhow, back to Obihiro.  Yeah, Obihiro is in the Tokachi region and it happens to be the site that hosts the fireworks festival.

What are Hanabi?

Hanabi are fireworks.

What is a Taikai?

This is where two roads begin to diverge. In its most literal sense, a taikai means a big meet generally referring to some sort of tournament.  In the case of Tokachi’s Hanabi Taikai, it’s more of a giant festival.

It can also mean a grand rally. So maybe in reference to the massive body of people who attend the event each year [2], it’s becoming less of a festival and more of a grand gathering of thousands of people. Call it what you will, but that’s a lot of people for Obihiro.

Tokachi Fireworks Festival Rally Sports Tournament Lots of People

Around August 15 there are a lot of things happening in and around Japan. It also happens to be the anniversary day that the Japanese surrendered ending World War II. So yeah, that’s kind of a big deal. But if you happen to be in Hokkaido around that time, I highly encourage all to see the Hanabi Taikai.

To be honest, I’m not someone who finds watching fireworks all that exciting (I like to light them), but hot-diggity-dawg this fireworks event truly delivers. Ok, I admit it starts out kind of slow with various organizations, businesses, connoisseurs, etc. showing off their mini firework shows… meh.

Then they do some sort of “Who created the best single rocket show that makes a pretty design”… meh.

But then they bring out the mother beast… the grand finale.  It’s about an eight to ten minute long fireworks orchestra. It goes from a fast tempo catching your attention rhythm to a slow down pacing precision show, which all culminates in a gut punching let’s burn the sky down explosion.

It got so crazy that I thought night time became day time for a brief moment.  I almost pissed my pants!

Well, maybe it isn’t to the extent that you’ll drop a load in your boxer briefs, but it’s definitely something to check out if you happen to be in Hokkaido around that time. Combine that with lots of beer and you’ll easily be knocked on your ass begging people around you to help you up as they gawk at the sky in pure amazement.

1. A simple dish that is pork over rice.
2. This year (2013) it is said that about 20,000 people attended the event.


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