Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fireflies in Tokyo

I know that fireflies are found practically everywhere in the world, but somehow they're a very important part of Japanese culture, just like other seasonal occurrences such as cherry blossoms, changing leaves, nabe feasts, watermelon, you name it. Just like the delicate sakura flowers, fireflies are ephemeral, and there's only a short time to view them.

When I lived in Shikoku, I had the chance to see them by chance in the wild, and it was a magical experience I had never been able to re-create in Tokyo. Turns out there are fireflies here, and I was lucky to get an invitation to an event at a beautiful hotel in Tokyo called Chinzanso.

I had never been there but heard it's a sought-after wedding venue for brides in Japan, and I can see why- there is a gorgeous traditional Japanese garden, complete with a pagoda, natural spring water and tea houses. The hotel raises their own fireflies, which means the bugs are kept in incubators until winter, when they are released. It's by all means a prime spot to see fireflies, as they definitely are found in the garden.

The viewing event came with an impressive meal and lots of time to stroll around the garden, so I highly recommend it for an activity this summer if you're in Tokyo. Fireflies are a bit of a rare sight, so seeing them is quite special and to me, they are synonymous with those hot summer nights.

Firefly, fireflies
The neon green bit is a firefly. Try photographing them...


I had tea at the hotel (and took notes)


Gotta love a Japanese garden


This pagoda was my favourite part of the garden, it's imported from Hiroshima


I ate a panda.


Torii gate in the garden


The pagoda lit up at night

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