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Let's Go See Fireflies in Tokyo!

Ingrid has arrived in Japan as an exchange student from Sweden. After dinner one evening, she is enjoying a chat with Satoru, her host father.

Let's Go See Fireflies in Tokyo!

Satoru

I have heard that in Sweden you enjoy some unique rights with respect to nature…

Ingrid

That is correct. We believe that "nature belongs to everybody." Thus, irrespective of who owns a piece of land, everybody has the right to venture into the mountains and the forests so as to enjoy them. People enjoy collecting wild berries and mushrooms, and familiarizing themselves with flowers and insects, etc.

Satoru

I see. So it seems that Swedish people really enjoy coming into contact with the great outdoors.

Ingrid

What about in Japan, is there a culture of enjoying nature throughout the four seasons?

Satoru

Yes, in spring we enjoy the flowers and cherry blossoms, and in autumn we go and see the changing leaves. Meanwhile on summer evenings, there is the tradition of enjoying the light of fireflies.

Ingrid

Fireflies?

Satoru

Yes, they are an insect that is known for emitting light.

Ingrid

Insects that emit light? That sounds cool!

Satoru

The light of the fireflies as they fly through the darkened night is really beautiful. The phenomenon has been long-loved in Japan as a tradition of early summer.

Ingrid decides that she would really like to go and see the fireflies for herself.

Ingrid

In what sort of locations can fireflies be found?

Satoru

Concerning Genji fireflies and Heike fireflies which are the two species most commonly viewed in Japan, they can be found along the banks of rivers and in the vicinity of rice paddies. In that fireflies are unable to live without clean water and a diverse environment; their numbers are decreasing every year due to water degradation and a reduction in the volume of land used as rice paddies, etc. Accordingly, there are now efforts being made to recreate firefly environments, as well as the artificial rearing of the insects.

Ingrid

Is it possible to see fireflies in Tokyo?

Satoru

In the Tama Area of Western Tokyo there are environments in which fireflies live. Furthermore, in parks and menageries located close to the city center there are firefly populations kept to get people interested in environmental issues and nature-related problems. At around this time of year, there are numerous locations holding firefly viewing events. Why not search the Internet using terms such as "Tokyo" and "viewing fireflies"?

Ingrid

I just did! It seems there are lots of places in Tokyo where you can see fireflies!

Satoru

Each year as a family we go and see the fireflies. Why don't you join us this year? We would really like you to enjoy this Japanese early summer tradition.

Ingrid

Yes, please take me with you. I am really looking forward to it!

Some places where fireflies can be seen in Tokyo.

● "Adachi Park of Living Things Firefly Nights!" (Special night openings)
http://www.seibutuen.jp/event/hotaru.htm (in Japanese only)
*Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from June 6th to 22nd, 2014

● "Hotaru no Yube" (Evenings Lit by Fireflies) (Official Tokyo Travel Guide Website)
https://www.gotokyo.org/en/kanko/hachioji/event/hotaru.html
*June 7th – 22nd, 2014