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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Thank you for reading!!