Catch the Fireflies in Shimane

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It is a popular activity in Japan to go watch fireflies on early summer evenings. ‘Hotaru-gari’ in Japanese means to go firefly catching. However, it doesn’t actually mean to literally catch fireflies; it means enjoying watching the fireflies lighting up the dark.

 Every year in this season, they let me know their season by visiting my garden by surprise. I love to see them fly reflecting on the surface of the calm river and rice fields filled with water. Some of them fly so close without caring me watching them.

赤川ほたるAmong the fifty species of firefly that can be found in Japan only some of them have luminous bodies. Luciola cruciate and Luciola lateralis are popular, they spend their larval stage in water. Once matured, their sole purpose is to find a mating partner in order to carry on the species.They only live for one or two weeks after maturing from a year-long larval stage. They glow to find their partners, male fireflies glow strongly to find female fireflies, female fireflies glow weak and wait for male to approach.


How to enjoy watching fireflies

The fireflies can be seen from the mid-June to the early July. To appear, they need gently flowing, clean water, no wind, and a humid environment.
Their numbers usually peak between 8PM and 9PM. Don’t forget to carry flashlights, but fireflies are sensitive to lights so please do not disturb them by strong lights like flash of cameras, or headlights of cars.





Because of the pollution, clean environment for fireflies to live is decreasing these days, luckily there are still a lot of clean streams and nature in Shimane. If you quietly look around in the dark, you are certain to find them all over Shimane, including at these recommended firefly-viewing spots.

Recommended Firefly-seeing spots ( Japanese)

Watch Firefly seeing Spots in Shimane in a large map