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Top spots for firefly viewing on summer nights in Japan

Firefly viewing is an activity many people enjoy during summertime, from late May to August, in many parts of the Japanese archipelago.

The fireflies, known as ホタル or 蛍 (hotaru) in Japanese, light up the evening skies during this season, offering us a magical sight and bringing peace and warmth to our hearts.

I love sitting in the grass while enjoying a cold glass of tea and waiting for dusk. I know that after the sun sets, the small glow of fireflies will start to appear. Anticipating the serene and sublime scenery about to take shape before my eyes is something I always look forward to.

For me, fireflies are magical and beautiful creatures that always manage to brighten my evenings. In fact, there are many legends regarding these beautiful creatures.

However, I suppose the main reason you clicked on this article was to find out where you can still see the "lightning bugs" during this time of crisis.

Depending on the area you are visiting, you will be able to see three varieties of fireflies: Heike, Genji, and Hime-Botaru, during the first months of summer in Japan.

Unfortunately, this year, many firefly festivals have been canceled due to the coronavirus, so make sure to double-check the websites included for each spot to find out if there haven’t been any changes.

Firefly viewing spot recommendations

Here are some of the recommendations of places where you can enjoy fireflies this summer or next time when visiting Japan during their season:

Roman Forest Republic

At Roman no Mori, you have a lot of activities and events to try out all year long and it is a perfect place for families to hang out.

During summers, from mid-June, you can enjoy the fireflies at night. During the day, you can have fun trying out the many attractions available in the area.

I especially recommend the workshops and the mini-golf. I assure you that the kids will love it!

Official Website


Hotaru no Yu

Fireflies at Hotaru no Yu start appearing quite early, from late-May to Mid-June. You can also discover the beautiful nature surrounding the area and try out their outdoor onsens. I love going there during spring, too, because the view and the open-air baths make a wonderful pair.

Official Website


Hachikita in Hyogo

Fireflies in Hachikita Park arrive later in summer, from 1st of July to 31st and you can also see the map (Japanese only) showing you where to find the three types of fireflies: Heike, Genji, and Hime-Botaru.

Official Website


Taiko-en Garden

From late May to late June, the fireflies announce the arrival of summer in Osaka’s Taiko-en Garden. At Taiko-en, you can enjoy talk shows, delicious cuisine, art activities, and many other programs so I recommend visiting it when you are in Kansai.

Official Website


Uchio Shrine in Tamba City, Hyogo

Uchio Shrine is a popular place to see the Hime-Botaru fireflies and enjoy their ephemeral glow while sitting on the grass and taking a moment to relax.


Hotarun Park in Hokkaido

Fireflies in northern Japan usually appear from early July up to early August. One of the famous spots to enjoy their glow is Hotarun Park in Otaru. The concept of a forest full of fireflies started in 2001, at the Otaru Asari Classe Hotel, and since then, it has gained a lot of popularity. Hokkaido has dry and cool summers and is probably the best place to visit during this season in Japan. Besides the sublime light of the Heike Hotaru, there is a lot of nature, fresh air, and various activities that will make your summertime worth it!


These are my top picks.

Don’t forget that fireflies hate strong light, so when visiting, be careful not to use flashlights.

Catching fireflies or directly entering the grassy areas where they perform their "light show" is prohibited.

Also, don’t forget to pick up your garbage, wear a mask as long as the coronavirus is still around, and above all, have fun!

By - cinnamonellie.