Where to See Fireflies in Kansai

ByJustin Hanus
May 26, 2021

Where to See Fireflies in Kansai

Whereas many years ago, fireflies were everywhere in Kansai throughout the summer months, you now need to head to specific places to see them. Luckily, you do have a range of options, including festivals in urban areas like the gardens of hotels, restaurants, and shrines. However, these events tend to last no more than a week since they involve bringing fireflies to the area — and when the fireflies die, they have no larvae to replace them.

If you go to where the fireflies live naturally, though, they are often around for several weeks. In Kansai, they’re active from late May to mid-June. Although they start coming out at nightfall, you may need to wait until 10:00 p.m. or even midnight to see them in large numbers. You’ll see the most fireflies of all if you search far from artificial light, near water sources, and in thick forests.

Kansai Area

Mishima Pond

Sekigahara is a top spot for fireflies due to its location at the foot of the mountains and immersed in nature. At nearby Mishima Pond, visitors are often able to see hundreds of fireflies. You may like to arrive early in the day to visit the highlights of Sekigahara, including the site of the Battle of Sekigahara and the Folk History Museum. You can then drive or take the train out to Mishima Pond in the evening.

Where: Ikeshita, Maibara, Shiga (map link)
Getting there: 32-minute walk from Omi-Nagaoka Station


If you’re looking for an urban option, Taiko-en restaurant is one to consider. Every year, the restaurant holds a special firefly event with a different theme. You can have a meal in the garden and watch the fireflies glow. In 2021, the event will be called Firefly Story 2021 — Evening Garden Sparkles and will run from June 1 to 23.

Where: 9-10 Amijimacho, Miyakojima Ward, Osaka (map link)
Getting there: 3-minute walk from Osakajo-Kitazume Station

Outside of Kansai Area

Motosu Hotaru Park

Although Motosu Hotaru Park is in a residential area, it’s one of the best places to see fireflies because the local government has taken steps to protect the land. It’s dark, and there’s plenty of clean water — exactly what two species of fireflies (Genji-hotaru and Heike-hotaru) need to thrive.

Where: 1117-8 Soinakajima, Motosu, Gifu (map link)
Getting there: 7-minute walk from Motosu Station


The fireflies in Shimoyoshida are Hime-hotaru, which are active earlier in the year than the other two species. Forests are more important than water sources for this species, which makes the dense woodland in Shimoyoshida perfect for them.

Where: 348 Shimoyoshida, Chichibu, Saitama (map link)
Getting there: 11-minute walk from Yoshida Shimobashi bus stop

If you’re able to, visit a forest and enjoy the fireflies in their natural habitat — away from other people where it is quiet, and the darkness is illuminated just by the fireflies. Of course, if this isn’t possible, an urban festival is an excellent substitute. Whatever you do, though, don’t miss out on the firefly season if you’re in Kansai during May or June.

Koichi_Hayakawa, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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