After a four-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of Tokyo’s most renowned fireworks festivals made a triumphant return on Saturday, delighting spectators with a breathtaking display of 20,000 fireworks illuminating the skies above the Sumida River. The long-awaited event drew an impressive crowd of approximately 1.04 million people, eager to witness the dazzling spectacle after years of cancellations and restrictions on large gatherings.
The Sumida River Fireworks Festival, an iconic tradition held annually since 1978, was unfortunately suspended in 2020 as the novel coronavirus spread across the country. However, with the gradual easing of pandemic restrictions and the government’s decision to downgrade the legal status of COVID-19 to that of seasonal influenza in May, the festival was able to make a much-anticipated comeback this year.
Unlike many other fireworks festivals where spectators congregate in open spaces to enjoy the show, the unique charm of the Sumida festival lies in its urban setting. The brilliant explosions of color and light can be observed as people stroll along the bustling streets and bridges of Tokyo. Due to the city’s tall buildings and limited spacious areas, this approach allows attendees to catch glimpses of the spectacular display from various vantage points.
As the event proceeded, organizers remained vigilant to prevent crowd crushes and potential accidents, considering the massive turnout and the excitement surrounding the festival’s revival after a long hiatus. Safety measures and crowd control protocols were put in place to ensure the well-being of all attendees.
Adding to the celebration, another fireworks festival was also held along the Arakawa River, marking its first occurrence in four years. This event drew a record-breaking crowd of 740,000 people on July 22nd, signifying the profound public longing for such festivities that bring joy and unity to the community.
The return of Tokyo’s beloved fireworks festivals represents a significant step towards normalcy and a rekindling of the city’s vibrant spirit. These iconic events hold cultural significance and serve as a symbol of resilience and hope during challenging times. As the city continues to navigate its way through the aftermath of the pandemic, such festivities play a crucial role in uplifting spirits and fostering a sense of togetherness among residents and visitors alike.