Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hotaru Matsuri




Seeing fireflies in Japan was one of the most important things to me on this trip, and something I had been dreaming up for months and months since our move. Unfortunately, once we arrived here I quickly realized it would be next to impossible to see anything within miles of Tokyo, and it would cost way too much to travel to any areas that were considered good places for fireflies.

Any time I tried asking people I met if they knew a good place to see the fireflies, they either seemed baffled and had never seen any themselves before, or they just made a disappointed face and lamented that they are only found very far away from Tokyo where the water is clean. I was very near giving up, until I found an online posting about a firefly festival a little outside of Tokyo.





Unfortunately two days before the festival there was a typhoon, and that coupled with the fact that this spring and summer had been unseasonably cold pretty much doomed the fireflies this season. I think we saw a grand total of about 4 or 5. It was also extremely dark, and it didn't really make sense to set up the tripod since we had no idea where to expect the fireflies to appear, so we got some very fleeting and sloppy snapshots of the ones that did survive the bad year.

It was really interesting how totally crowded the garden was, and how disproportionate the humans were to fireflies. Something about their magic and association with summertime is enough to attract all kinds of people in droves just for the chance to glimpse their ethereal fleeting glow, even if the chances are low. It was so great whenever a firefly did light up in the otherwise pitch black garden- each time there was a huge collective gasp and sigh from everyone around, and for that one moment everyone was united in even the tiniest of ways as we held our breath in surprise and awe at the little wonder floating through the air.



  1. I really love that last shot. I hadn't realized Japan was known for its fireflies. My grandma lives in front of farmland in rural Indiana and the firefly shows there are glorious. - Leah

  2. Wow the photos are beautiful, especially the very last one! <3

  3. Me encanta ver siempre todas sus fotos.
    SueƱo con ir a Japon. <3
    Un abrazo enorme

  4. I've never seen a firefly before! This post was lovely, especially the lanterns.

    Et tu, tutu?

  5. I love these pictures. Especially of the streaky floppy fireflies.

  6. That first picture is gorgeous. I really miss fireflies; I always loved going to family reunions in Kansas, because the fireflies came out at night. We don't have them much in Washington!