Japanese fireworks, or hanabi (meaning “flowers of fire”), are a tradition that goes back several centuries. Arriving to Japan during the Edo period, the art of making fireworks has become a major artistic endeavor with master artisans crafting stunning spectacles to be displayed at the fireworks festivals known as hanabi taikai. While in other countries firework displays are typically held as part of holiday celebrations, in Japan, fireworks festivals have become an important summer tradition and usually take place alongside large rivers to help people keep cool in the heat. Read on for four of the most renowned Tokyo fireworks festivals of summer, along with recommendations for great places to indulge in great food and drinks before or after the show.
Japanese culture is famous for its emphasis on seasonality, a tradition that springs from the country’s varied climate with four distinct seasons and its Shinto background, a religion based on worshiping nature and natural forces. Even in modern times, this appreciation of all things natural can be seen in the various seasonal celebrations as well as Japan’s emphasis on eating foods at the peak of their seasonal freshness.
Noodles are an undeniably delectable staple the Japanese culinary repertoire. From temptingly thick udon noodles to tantalizingly thin buckwheat soba noodles, to wavy or long and straight ramen noodles, noodles come in every shape and texture in Japan and are enjoyed year-round. However, when temperature heats up and the days become languid with humidity, it is not a steaming bowl of noodles and hot soup, but rather a bowl of Japanese cold noodles, often chilled to perfection, that provides a refreshing respite from the sultry summer weather. Here are four essential Japanese noodle dishes for summer and some of the best places to enjoy them across the country.