This Event is held every year in the City of Saga, Japan – on the banks of the Kase River. It originally started with just 5 hot air balloon enthusiasts and has now grown to have many more. Over 3000 volunteers come together during this time to make it one of the best ballooning events in the world.
The Balloon Fiesta was first held in 1978 in Amagi City in the Fukuoka Prefecture, as a sister event to the Fiesta in Kyushu. In 1980, it was moved to Saga City – as the previous venue had less space. It gained international stature in 1984 and got its new name. Balloon enthusiasts from all over Japan came to participate in this spectacular and fun event.
Over 10 million visitors have come to Saga since 1980 – to experience this visual spectacle. Visitors to Saga are ferried from Kubota for the duration.
The timing of this Festival coincides with other events in and around Japan such as the Karatsu Kunchi which is held in neighboring Karatsu City.
Some interesting and fun facts about the Saga Balloon Festival:
1992 saw the introduction of a new category for special shapes in balloons and was called the Balloon Fantasia. These unusual balloons are tethered and burners are then lit in a choreographed fashion to highlight their shapes. A wonderful highlight at the Fiesta indeed.
All in all, a fun event to enjoy – not just by being outdoors but also being able to visit other cities and partake in other festivals and get immersed in Japanese culture.