Visiting Firework Factory (Hanabi) in Japan
Japan is widely known for their amazing fireworks yearly especially during summer.
However, what if you missed their summer firework festival then?
Fear not as there are still opportunities for you to experience way more than just seeing the fireworks here in
Amongst these festivals, Omagari no Hanabi, the Omagari Fireworks Festival, which takes place in Omagari, Akita, is one of the most renowned fireworks festivals in Japan, and has almost 800,000 visitors in a single night. Omagari no Hanabi has a long-running tradition. It started in the year 43 of the Meiji Era, 1910, and has been held annually on the fourth Saturday of August. Every year, pyrotechnicians all across Japan compete against one another with their vivid fireworks to determine who the best is.
This town is mainly of rice field plantations and have a few kinds of firework factories around.
As we enter the premises of the factory, we were surprised to not see a huge factory building.
Instead, it looked like a small village in their premises where buildings were separated and apart from each other.
Here, as you can see is the map and the manager of the factory explains in detail on why they are built such way.
Plus, they have extra walls built for safety precaution in case of an explosion or fire.
Then next, is the process where they will produce the chemical balls that would determine the colours of the fireworks. In this process, we were brought into a room where they had 2 employees working on mixing the sifted powder with a liquid chemical mixture into a paste.
Next, they will placed it into the huge turbine machine.
The metal turbine machine works as a tool to give the round shape of the chemical balls within several minutes. However , this process would take some time as it requires a lot of patience in slowly increasing the ball shape size.
We were then brought to the next room which is call the dryer room. In this room , they will then place the chemical balls to dry .
Well, I asked the manager: " How long will it take these balls to dry?"
His reply surprised me as it would take a week or two !
And then, he explains if they would need to dry several times and going through the same turbine procedures especially for those fireworks with various colours transitions.
He then showed us a real look on a hald sliced chemical ball on what he meant by the colours.
Based on these different levels of layers, it determines the various colour transitions in a firework.
Then , he also brought us out and showed us where they would dry the chemical balls in Summer.
As we entered another building section, we were brought to a row of 3 rooms and the first room looked like this.
What came up in my mind was that it looks like an art craft room but the fact that this is a hazardous professional job where employees risks their life to create beautiful fireworks.
We also had the opportunity to hands on carry one of those to see How heavy it can be and indeed it was Heavy !
Then the next room was almost a similar task but of different size.
And the last room we came to a team of employees that were making tiny balls arrangements. To me, it seems like this would be the most complicated among all as you would really need good eyesight to arrange tiny balls and at the same time being able to produce more amount of it.
We were then brought to the last building which was the furthest and there we found more female employees instead. Well, this room was filled with much more chatters and laughters with a
strong smell of rice wine.
Apparently, they weren't drinking sake but using rice glue.
The smell of rice glue is so strong that it reminds me so much of sake.
The manager explains that rice glue contains no excessive chemicals which would not affect the reaction of the fireworks.
And out of curiousity, I asked the manager :
"So, how Big is the Biggest firework your factory has ever made? "
He told us it was the 3rd biggest one but the firework is not around yet, the pipe for the firework insertion is still kept in the storage and we were able to witness it with our own eyes.
It's about 5 times the size of my head or maybe more.
Well, as for the normal size fireworks, this is how the size of their pipes looks like.
Here, I'm able to insert my own made imitation Firework. Here to read more about my experience in Making imitated Fireworks(Hanabi).
Honestly, before coming to this firework factory, I used to think fireworks were chemical particles stuffed in a pipe. Thanks to this factory tour, I definitely now know much more about the process of firework making and appreciate the work behind the short seconds of firework beauty.
Next, click here to see the Fireworks / Hanabi right after our factory tour in this paddy field background area.
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