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Friday, Aug. 5, 2011

Chikugo festival features firework waterfall


By MIKE HAMILTON
Staff writer

While nearly every city in Japan boasts an annual summer fireworks display, Fukuoka gives its citizens a little bit extra pizazz.

Since 2003, the Chikugo River fireworks display has held the world record for the longest firework — more than 3 km in length — nicknamed "Niagara Falls."

Despite not attempting to break any world records this year, the event is still one of Japan's largest fireworks events and is dedicated to the nearby Suitengu Shrine. Visitors will be able to see a slightly smaller "Niagara Falls" and some 18,000 other fireworks being set alight across two venues throughout the evening.

Large crowds dressed in yukata (summer kimonos) are expected to come from Kyushu and western Japan for the spectacle, which has occurred in some form or another for more than 350 years. That makes the Chikugo event one of Japan's longest-running fireworks displays.

Typical seasonal food, such as kakigōri (shaved ice), will be on sale. Make sure to arrive early if you want to grab a spot along the river.

The Chikugo River firework display will take place in Senoshita-machi and Sasayama-machi in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Aug. 5. (7:40 p.m.). The river is a 10-minute walk from JR Kurume Station on the Kagoshima Line. For details, visit www.crossroadfukuoka.jp.


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