Summer Nights With Tokyo’s Magical Fireflies

ByBert Wishart
May 19, 2017

Summer Nights With Tokyo’s Magical Fireflies

There are four key ways that you can tell that summer on its way in Japan. The top three are obvious: the convenience stores replacing nikuman with cold ramen; cool biz mercifully replacing suits and ties in the office, and everyone is saying “atsui ne!” every thirty seconds. But the fourth one? It’s the coming of the fireflies.

Fireflies, or ‘hotaru,’ in Japan conjure up magical memories of summer, perhaps recalling long summer evenings playing amongst the rice fields, or maybe being sat on a grandparents porch as the first fireflies of the summer dance across the garden (an image that is replicated at the beginning of the silly, though thoroughly enjoyable TV show Hotaru no Hikari).

With the season now upon us, why not join the locals in getting out and enjoying the romantic, beautiful, and entertaining flight of the fireflies.  Please note that while these locations will hold festivals in a normal year, they are not this year, but you can still turn up to see the fireflies festival or no!

Yomiuri Land Firefly Evenings

On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in the Seichi Koen area of Yomiuri Land, these evenings have become an annual occurrence. The long grasses of the park are an ideal breeding ground, and as well as the flies, there are all sorts of fun things to do in the park, more about which you can read here.

Where: 4015-1 Yanokuchi, Inagi-shi (map)

Botanical Garden Fureai

This small botanical garden in Shibuya may not be well known, but it sure draws a crowd when it comes to firefly season. It’s pretty easy to get to (12 minutes walk from Shibuya station), and as well as the fireflies themselves. There will also be screenings of documentaries on the stages of a firefly’s life, making it an educational event for the whole family.

Where: Shibuya, Higashi, 2 Chome−25−37 (map)

Fussa Firefly Festival

Approximately 500 Luciola fireflies have been raised by the locals of the western town of Fussa for this annual festival. As well as the majesty of the fireflies, there are all sorts of other entertainment with staged performances by local artists, and of course, plenty of stalls selling traditional festival food.

Where: Hotaru Park and Tamagawa River Ome Bridge area, Fussa-shi (map)

Hotaru no Yube

Yuyake Koyake Fureai no Sato is a village-type recreation that offers a hands-on experience of nature amid the vast greenery of the surrounding mountains. In early June, the grounds are open free of charge for an attraction. Dubbed Hotaru no Yube, or ‘Evening Lit by Fireflies.’ Visitors can enjoy an evening with some 2,500 fireflies floating along the clear stream of the Kitaasa-kawa River that flows through the site.

Where: Yuyake Koyake Fureai no Sato,Hachioji, Kamiongatamachi, 2030 (map)

Sankeien Garden Firefly Evening

Although this event is out in Yokohama, it’s so delightful that it really is worth the trip. The Sankein Gardens are home to many historic buildings from all across Japan, with a pond, small rivers, flowers, and wonderful scrolling trails. From late May to early June, the gardens are open in the evenings to allow visitors to enjoy this gorgeous setting enhanced by the enchantment of the fireflies.

Where: Kanagawa Prefecture, Naka Ward, Honmokusannotani, 58−1 (map)

By Mark Guthrie

Image by Luka Knezevic – Strika (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via (modified)

About the author

Bert Wishart editor

Novelist, copywriter and graduate from the most prestigious university in Sunderland, Bert whiles away his precious time on this Earth by writing about popular culture, travel, food and pretty much anything else that is likely to win him the Pulitzer he desperately craves.

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