Capturing the light (Firefly viewing) & Photo Challenge – Day 294

Similar to the Cherry Blossom Season, Japan also has a Firefly Season which normally occurs around this time of the year in Tokyo (June).

I got really excited about going to see fireflies as I knew this would be good content for my blog! Like sakura, the viewing period for fireflies is pretty short, so I went to two different events this week to try and get some decent photos.

SIDE NOTE: I’ve decided to enter this post into this week’s photo challenge, Contrast. Here’s more information on it here

In actual fact, this wasn’t my first time seeing fireflies. When I came to Japan about two years ago, my home stay family took me to see some when I was with them. Coincidentally, the second firefly viewing event I went to this time during my year abroad was actually the same place I went to with my host family! It didn’t click until we were there and I recognised everything (more about this below).

Hotaru Matsuri (Firefly Festival) in Fussa

Hotaru Matsuri (Firefly Festival) in Fussa

The first firefly viewing event was held in Fussa last weekend. A one day event, this place was packed with families who had come to make a whole day trip out of seeing fireflies. The event started at 1pm and went on until about 9pm – obviously you can’t see the fireflies that well during the day, but the streets were lined up with food stalls, and all sorts of festival (matsuri) activities/stalls throughout the afternoon.


Grilled Squid!

Grilled Squid!

Music Performance

Music Performance

Me and my friend decided just to turn up for the firefly viewing so we got there just after 7pm as that’s when it starts getting dark. At first we only saw one or two fireflies, but when we reached the viewing area, it was like magic. These fireflies had a really green glow, and it’s such an amazing sight.

Only decent photo...

Only decent photo…

Naturally, you want to take photos of these creatures and capture the firefly essence, but this is almost an impossible task.
First of all, there were so many people also trying to take photos, so when you try and take one you also get the lighting from people’s phones/cameras. Secondly, the fireflies are constantly moving so the photos all come out a bit blurred. I did think about doing long-exposure to capture the light but I don’t have a tripod which would help to get a better photo, but also when I tried long exposure my photos also picked up on other people’s camera flashes 😦


Even though I didn’t get many photos from this event in Fussa, it was wonderful just to see them flying around. Fireflies are really friendly insects – they just do their own thing and aren’t really bothered if you touch them (not really allowed) or chase them around to get a photo.

Pretty lights just outside the entrance

Pretty lights just outside Yomiuri Land entrance

As I didn’t get many good photos at this event, I went to another one a week later held at Yomiuri Land. This is an amusement park in Kanagawa, so it was pretty far away from the dormitory. The firefly viewing event at Yomiuri Land started on the 13th June and runs until the 1st July (with a few days off in between) so it’s quite a big thing.

Firefly viewing entrance

Firefly viewing entrance

To see the fireflies, you have to buy a ticket for 300 yen, which isn’t expensive at all, but the Fussa event was free! But the good thing about buying a ticket is that they filter people in so it’s not too crowded.

Ticket for the event

Ticket for the event

While we were waiting for our turn, we sat and had some snacks. They have this large greenery area where you wait that also has food stalls and chairs for you to use. The area is so big that there’s enough space for children to run around so it’s pretty family-friendly.

Tanabata Festival preparations?

Tanabata Festival preparations?

When it was finally our turn to see the fireflies, before we had even got to the viewing area, we got distracted by these pretty lanterns that each had a different design on them.

Beautiful lanterns

Beautiful lanterns

Finally, we got to the viewing area, and that magical feeling returned. I noticed that these fireflies didn’t have as bright a green glow as the ones in Fussa, but a slightly whiter light. I think there were far more fireflies here than the other place.



Despite the rules, we caught a few and took some pictures of them. Don’t worry, no fireflies were killed!

DSCF2275We got so involved in taking photos that I think we were actually the last ones to leave the area! It was way past 9pm but we definitely got some good shots.



It’s a shame that the season is so short as it is something you definitely have to see with your own eyes. No photo can capture the real firefly essence, but I hope you enjoyed looking at my photos! There is one more firefly even this year (July) that will be held in Setagaya, I think. I’m pretty sure this is the last one so I’ll try and go if I have time.


Quick dinner after all that photography!

Thank you for reading!!

This entry was published on June 27, 2014 at 6:06 pm. It’s filed under Japan and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

12 thoughts on “Capturing the light (Firefly viewing) & Photo Challenge – Day 294

  1. Pingback: Contrast | بيسان

  2. I remember capturing fireflies in our hands when we were little and then watching the light from inside. Lovely memories.


  3. Oh my gosh! We lived in Fussa and I had forgotten about the fireflies. So much fun.

    • I didn’t get to see much of Fussa because we only went there in the evening to see the fireflies, but it seemed like a really beautiful place! Perhaps I might go back there during the day to explore the area 🙂

      • We were there in the late 80’s. There wasn’t a lot to it. Nice people, though. There’s a little zoo nearby that we used to take our children to. That was a lot of fun. Tama and Ueno zoos were some of our favorite places to be, especially the butterfly enclosure and the Lion Bus at Tama.

  4. This is the little zoo. Sounds like it was in better shape when we were there and there was food back then.

    If you haven’t been to Tama or Ueno yet, go. Our favorite was the lion bus at Tama. It goes into the lion enclosure. Saw a You Tube video recently of it – it looks exactly the same.

    • Thank you every so much for the information! I really appreciate you taking the time to give me the links. I haven’t visited either zoo yet since I’ve been here so I’ll love to go to Tama zoo before I go back.

      Thank you! 😀

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  7. Pingback: Matsuri Mania (Plum and flower festivities) – Day 317 | Olivia In Japan

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