Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fireflies Light Up the Night Sky During Japan's Annual Firefly Festival

From young children to adults, fireflies fascinate and entertain many. Whether it is for catching, inspiring music and art, or simply to look at-everyone loves fireflies! And why wouldn’t you? They are harmless creatures with a beautiful glow that is delightful to look at. Unfortunately, the firefly population continues to decline due to the destruction of their habitats and clean water. 

But the community of Higashiizu in Shizuoka, Japan is working hard to conserve the delicate insects. These people dedicate an entire year to the nurture and conservation of fireflies. They do this by catching and feeding water snails to larvae through the summer and then carefully protect them through their nine month long hibernation. Once the nine months are up, local elementary students volunteer their services by returning more than 5,000 larvae back into a pond so they can pupate and complete their transformation into a firefly. 

Besides making efforts to preserve their populations, the Japanese community of Higashiizu celebrates the life and beauty of the firefly with an annual festival. Each June for 10 days “Hotaru Kansho no Yube”, or an Evening of Firefly Viewing, takes place. It has been a tradition in the Higashiizu community for the last 30 years.

Visitors gather to view the hundreds of fireflies in the area and then lit lanterns guide them to the festival’s event of the night- with a different one for all ten days. Any tourists staying in the area for the event have their pick of six different hot-spring hotels nearby. 

It is a truly beautiful site and an exciting summer festival worth checking out at least once in your life if you get the chance!

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