Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Fireflies in Uji, like magic from a children's book

Yesterday evening, around 19:30 o'clock I enjoyed one of the greatest experiences of this trip, at least! I went firefly viewing at Uji's Botanical Garden. A charming, small garden nonetheless, yesterday was all about the fireflies.

At the east of the garden a little stream flows pleasantly through the Maple grove (Momiji Bayashi) and the Konara oak Grove (Konara Bayashi). It  offers the fireflies a dense 'forest' with a lot of ground foliage where they can safely fly about. Look for the darkest spots, that's where you find them. Actually, the very best spot is at the right from the small pond at the far end of the Konara Bayashi between the low bamboo plants.

Each day, the website shows a summary of the day before, with the amount of fireflies flying and of cars on the parking deck. (Busses 240 and 250 also drive back and fourth between the Botanical Garden and Uji Station). Yesterday seemed the perfect evening, since around 8 o'clock the fireflies were ''flying a lot'' and the car deck was almost empty. What more can you wish for?

The best time of the evening is between 19 and 19:30 o'clock, when the first fireflies light up and the visitors and yourself, will murmur in excitement. Children are hushed kindly as not to disturb the magic of the evening. You will feel like a little kid in a children's book when the fairy like scene unfolds itself in front of you. Half an hour later is the busiest time with fireflies flitting above the stream and sometimes crossing the path so you can almost touch them.

Firefly Festival at Uji Botanical Garden started at May 26th and you can still enjoy the fireflies until the 17th of June. Extended opening hours apply during the festival, until 21:30 o'clock. In the Kansai region I know of three other spots that celebrate firefly festivals. I'll try and visit at least one of these other festivals and tell you about it at So Kyoto!

Keihanna Commemorative Park
At the Suikei garden at Seika Tow. Through June 17th.
I posted earlier about the Suikei-en, see this article.

Tanikawa Firefly Park
On the Minamitani River, at the Town of Ide. Throughout summer.

Kanbayashi-sanso villa
At the City of Ayabe. Mid-June.

PS: I know these pictures are definitely not the best firefly pictures out there! I do not have the proper equipment for  these hard conditions, being in... total darkness :) It's more about fun and imagination. And I needed some pictures to go with this story after all!


  1. I used to have so much fun catching fireflies when I was a kid. Those light streaks kinda look like you are getting ghost pictures on Ghost Hunters :-)

    1. Yeah, indeed! You need a long shutter time on the camera to get anything at all :)