Feel summer's magic at these 11 famous places to see fireflies in Japan

The early-summer season of May through July is firefly season in Japan. How about taking a one-of-a-kind journey to experience the mystical glow of the fireflies?

Feel summer's magic at these 11 famous places to see fireflies in Japan

Miyagi

Genji Fireflies in Masubuchi, Towa-cho

Genji Fireflies in Masubuchi, Towa-cho

The Masubuchi area is designated as a natural monument of Japan for the naturally-occurring groups of Genji fireflies that gather there. The glow of the fireflies reflecting on the surfaces of the clear streams and the Masubuchi River invite visitors to a mysterious world and evoke images of an old Japanese village.

Observation period
Late June through early July, starting at approximately 9:00 pm (for detailed information, see the City of Tome's official website)
Observation location
Masubuchi Area, Towa-cho, Tome-shi, Miyagi Prefecture
Access
・By Train
Tohoku Shinkansen, Ueno Station→approx. 120 minutes→Sendai Station→approx. 25 minutes→Kurikoma-Kogen Station→approx. 40 minutes by car
Tohoku Main Line, Sendai Station→approx. 74 minutes→Ishikoshi Station→approx. 30 minutes by car
・By Car
Tohoku Expressway, Sendai-Miyagi IC→approx. 25 minutes→approx. 50 minutes from Tsukidate IC
Approx. 45 minutes from Kahoku IC on the Sanriku Expressway

Tokyo

Kugayama Firefly Festival

Kugayama Firefly Festival

Held near Kugayama Station on the Tokyo Keio Inokashira Line, the Kugayama Firefly Festival enters its 21st year this year and will be held for two days from Saturday, June 4 through Sunday, June 5th. Evening activities include a release of fireflies on the Tama and Kanda Rivers, and the festival is bustling with visitors eager to see the mystical glow of fireflies in the city.

Observation period
Saturdays in early June, two hours
Observation location
Kugayama, Suginami-ku, Tokyo: Kanda River (under the Shimizu Bridge), Tama River (under the Iwasaki Bridge)
Access
Near Kugayama Station on the Keio Inokashira Line

Nagano

Shinshu Tatsuno Firefly Festival

Shinshu Tatsuno Firefly Festival

Tatsuno Firefly Park, the premier firefly spot in Japan, features groups of as much as a million fireflies in flight depending on the day, giving visitors a one-of-a-kind experience sometimes described as akin to being in space. The Shinshu Tatsuno Firefly Festival features a variety of events, including food stalls and dances.

Observation period
Early to late June
Observation location
Tatsuno-cho, Kamiina-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Access
・From Tokyo/Nagoya
On National Highway 153, approximately 10 minutes from the Chuo Expressway's Ikita IC
・From Niigata/Nagano
On National Highway 153, approximately 20 minutes from the Nagano Expressway's Shiojiri IC
*Shortcut to Weeping Chestnut Forest Park
Approximately 10 minutes via Katsutsuru Pass from Okaya IC on the Nagano Expressway

Gifu

Fireflies all over Asukagawa

Fireflies all over Asukagawa

In the area of Asukagawa in the Tanugumi-Yokokura district in Ibigawa-cho, Gifu Prefecture, visitors can view the wild dances of beautiful fireflies in early summer. Ibigawa also features several other firefly viewing spots in addition to Asukagawa, some of the best-known of which are Tanbaragawa in the Kitagata District, Katsura River near Ibi Welfare Hospital, the area near Kamo Shrine in the Haginaga District and the JA Ibigawa Country area in the Ueno District.

Observation period
Early to late June (for detailed information, see the see the Town of Ibigawa's website)
Observation location
Tanigumi Kamihara, Ibigawa-cho, Ibi-gun, Gifu Prefecture
Access
JR Tokaido Main Line, Ogaki Station→Tarumi Railway to Tanigumi-guchi Station→Ibigawa Community Bus (Meihan Kintetsu Bus) bound for Tanigumi to Tanigumi-san→Ibigawa Community Bus (Meihan Kintetsu Bus), Yokokura Line to the final stop

Aichi

Torikawa Firefly Village

Torikawa Firefly Village

Designated as one of the 100 most famous bodies of water by the Ministry of the Environment, the "Torikawa Firefly Village Springs" watershed is home to a large number of Genji fireflies. Peak times see groups of 500-1,400 grouping in a riverside area approximately two km long, and visitors can behold the mystical spectacle of their dancing glow.

Observation period
Late May through late June, around 8:00-9:00 pm
Observation location
Torikawa Firefly Village, Torikawa-cho, Okazaki-shi, Aichi Prefecture
Access
Approximately 15 minutes from Okazaki-Higashi IC on the Shin-Tomei Expressway
Approximately 30 minutes from Okazaki-Higashi IC on the Tomei Expressway

Hyogo

Hime Fireflies at Uchio Shrine

Hime Fireflies at Uchio Shrine

From June into July, the hime-botaru fireflies that thrive in the area around the Torii gate of Uchio Shrine in Tamba, Hyogo Prefecture, cast their dreamy light about the area. At their peak, visitors can take the "Hikami Dream Tour," a tour of approximately 40 minutes that features views of the dancing hime-botaru fireflies.

Observation period
June through July
Observation location
Uchio Shrine, 13 Mihara, Hikami-cho, Tamba-shi, Hyogo Prefecture
Access
Approximately 10 minutes by car from Hikami IC on the Kitakinki-Toyooka Expressway

Nara

Fireflies in Uda, Nara Prefecture

Fireflies in Uda, Nara Prefecture

Fireflies are out and about throughout the city of Uda, Nara Prefecture from mid-June through early July. Word is that they are particularly beautiful in the Murogawa Basin, where there are fewer city lights. In addition, there are large numbers of fireflies visible around Aki Shrine and along the Uda River in Ouda as well as around the upper part of the Yoshino River in Utano.

Observation period
Mid-June through early July
Observation location
Uda-shi, Nara Prefecture
Access
From Osaka: From Kintetsu Uehommachi Station, take the Kintetsu Osaka Line approximately 45 minutes to Kintetsu Haibara Station
From Nagoya: From Kintetsu Nagoya Station, take the Meihan Otsu Limited Express to Kintetsu Nabari Station and then take the Kintetsu Osaka Line to Kintetsu Haibara Station for a total trip time of approximately 100 minutes
From Kyoto: From Kintetsu Kyoto Station, take the Kintetsu Kyoto Line to Yamato-Saidaiji Station and then take the Kintetsu Kashihara Line to Yamato-Yagi station, and finally take the Kintetsu Osaka Line to Kintetsu Haibara Station for a total trip time of approximately 60 minutes
From Osaka: Approximately 20 minutes on National Route 369 from the Meihan Expressway's Hari IC
From Nagoya: Approximately 20 minutes on National Route 369 from the Meihan Expressway's Hari IC
From Kyoto: Approximately 20 minutes from Sakurai and approximately 30 minutes from Nabari on National Route 165

Okayama

Hokubo Firefly Village

Hokubo Firefly Village

Home to three species of firefly, the Genji firefly, the Heike firefly and the Hime firefly, the Hokubo area in Okayama Prefecture has also been designated by the Ministry of the Environment as one of the top 100 village-dwelling animal habitats. Particularly in mid-June, a large number of fireflies dance and float along the banks of the Bitchu River. Hime fireflies can be seen in the Bitchu Cavern.

Observation period
Genji fireflies: Late May through mid-June
Hime fireflies: Mid-June through early July
Observation location
Shimo-Azae, Maniwa-shi, Okayama Prefecture
Access
Approximately 5 minutes by car from the Hokubo IC

Tokushima

Masukawa Firefly Festival

Masukawa Firefly Festival

In the city of Miyoshi, Tottori Prefecture, the peak season in mid-June brings groups of anywhere from several hundred to several thousand floating fireflies. Each year's firefly season also brings the Masukawa Firefly Festival, with its main venue located at the "Healing Village Masukawa Shogakko."

Observation period
Best viewing time is mid-June for approximately 2-3 hours from sunset
Observation location
264-2 Masukawa, Higashiyama, Higashi-Miyoshi-cho, Miyoshi-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
Access
・By plane
Approximately 90 minutes by car from Tokushima Awaodori Airport (via Tokushima Expressway)
Approximately 35 minutes by car from JR Awa-Kamo Station

Fukuoka

Fireflies in Koge

Fireflies in Koge

Visitors to the Higashi-Kami and Nishi-Tomoeda neighborhoods in the town of Koge, Fukuoka Prefecture can enjoy the spectacle of fireflies against the babbling of the river. The best days are hot and humid with a high daytime temperature and little wind, thick cloud cover and little moonlight, which reward visitors with incredible fields of light the likes of which cannot be found in larger cities.

Observation period
Late May through mid-June, around 7:30-9:00 pm
Observation location
Higashi-Kami and Nishi-Tomoeda areas, Koge-cho, Chikujo-gun, Fukuoka Prefecture
Access
Approximately one hour and 20 minutes by car from Kitakyushu Airport
Approximately one hour and 20 minutes by car from Oita Airport
Approximately 20 minutes by car from Nakatsu Station on the JR Nippo Main Line

Okinawa

Yaeyama Hime Fireflies on Iriomote Island

Yaeyama Hime Fireflies on Iriomote Island

The Yaeyama Hime Fireflies that inhabit Iriomote Island in Okinawa Prefecture are visible from late February through late April, and their tendency to fly low to the ground creates the fairytale-like effect of a shifting "carpet of light." The sparkler-like effect of their slowly-fading lights is truly a sight to behold.

Observation period
Best viewing time is late February through late April for approximately one hour from sunset
Observation location
Iriomote Island, Taketomi-cho, Yaeyama-gun, Okinawa Prefecture
Access
Approximately 45 minutes from Ishigaki Port Ritoh Terminal, disembark at Uehara Port
Approximately 35 minutes from Ishigaki Port Ritoh Terminal, disembark at Ohara Port

Unauthorized reproduction of the text or images on this page is prohibited. If citing this content, please include the title of this page and a link to it.

See more from Rakuten Travel