Arai Hand Cannon Fireworks Festival

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Arai Hand Cannon Fireworks Festival (遠州新居手筒花火, enshuaraitezutsuhanabi) is the one of the most unique Hanabi Festival in Japan. The main feature of this festival is Tezutsu Hanabi. It is hand carried Hanabi which makes 20m high column of flame to the sky. This festival is a part of Suwa Shrine festival, and it's been carried over 300 years in Arai. 1000 Hand Cannons fires at ones and colors night to bright red.

Tourist Info.
Festival happend at the end of July. The road around the shrine will be closed during the festival. The stage of the fireworks is at Arai Junior High School.

0. at Hamamatsu Station
1. use JR Tokaido to Araimachi (18 min.)
2. use bus to Suwa Shrine (5 min.)
3. walk west (10 min.)

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Detailed Travel Guide

Arai Hand Cannon Fireworks is a part of the ritual events for Suwa Shrine festival. The history of Tezutsu, the hand cannon, began at middle of Edo period by Yoshida-han, current Toyohashi Aichi. The record of Matsudaira of Yoshida said about Tezutsu Hanabi in 1716 to 1738.

Arai Hando Cannon Fireworks is one of the most energetic Matsuri. The tradition has been carried over by old generation to new generation. All of the hand cannons are all hand made by each villagers, and the way of making the cannon are taught by their seniors for over 300 years.

Because Arai was directly ruled by Tokugawa Government, Arai was the only village which allowed to use such a large amount of powders. Arai was very important spot on Tokaido Road. This festival was held by the villagers to encourage the officers who work at the gate.

The festival
6 villages of Arai displayed their own Large Cannons. Each village has their unique way of mixing the powders.

Sarutaihi is the main part of the festival. 1000 people carried their own hand cannon and parade. The fire change the color of night dramatically to exciting red.

How to make Hand Cannon
Hand Cannon is made with 3 year-old bamboo. Top has small firing mouth, and bottom is open. The powder goes from the bottom and rapped by clay and papers. The bamboo is covered by Tatami Sheet and rope.

is play with drums, bamboo flute and traditional songs. The drum cart is called Nerikogi Daiko. Each village play the music before the festival begins, and all of them travel to the mountain where the stage of the fireworks is located.