Firefly Festival (Hotaru Matsuri) in Japan

June 2, 2012

boy hops over a fence to meet his friend and win some goldfish at a game stall during the Firefly Festival in Yamaguchi, Japan.


Right now it’s Firefly season in Japan. Fireflies in Japanese are called hotaru 蛍.

Yamaguchi’s hotaru matsuri (festival) just ended yesterday. On Saturday some friends and I went firefly viewing, but I didn’t bring my tripod with me so I couldn’t do any long exposure shots. So, I decided to get some tonight; this picture is from the river a couple minutes’ bike ride from my house, right near where I buy my groceries. There weren’t as many condensed hotaru in one place as there were at Ichinosakagawa on Saturday during the festival (photos to come), but there were still a decent amount, and it was nice to go out at night and take some shots. If you’ve never gone out late at night, or early in the morning to walk around and take some pictures, I highly recommend it. It always feels great, and when no one is around you can really relax and just enjoy the light, and take as much time as you like.

Fun Fact: Although officially hotaru is written using kanji, a few trendy festival posters I’ve seen use the phonetic ホタル katakana spelling of the name.  Katakana is used mainly for foreign-borrowed words, so it’s sort of catchy and grabs your attention. I’ve seen quite a few shops where people have katakana-ized their names which would traditionally be spelled using regular Japanese kanji or hiragana.