SUBMITTED BY HYLA ERNST
For the past three years, our family has been going out in search of new places to view fireflies in Japan. This year’s firefly season for us began last weekend in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture, about a 25 minute drive from where we were attending the Mt. Daisen Natsuyama Summer Festival.
If you happen to be in the area during firefly season (typically June), this is a great spot. Here’s the Google Maps pin I dropped in the parking lot. I am adding this information even though Yonago is close to four hours away from Iwakuni because the information was very hard to find and I want to pass on the knowledge. If you are looking for local spots near MCAS Iwakuni, go ahead and skip down to the bottom of the post ;-).
From the parking lot, follow the row of lanterns until it ends. After that, follow the sound of water until you reach a small bridge. There are small stools on the bridge for viewing fireflies or you can walk down the pathway along the water.
When we went last weekend (around 11 PM), the fireflies weren’t as active and were mostly just hiding in the foliage. The best viewing time we’ve found is the first couple of hours after sunset.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to drive hours away to find fireflies. There are PLENTY of firefly viewing spots all over Japan. The picture below was taken two years ago in the mountains near Iwakuni.
We’ve found that the best places to find them are next to moving streams with heavy vegetation. Sometimes you can also find them in rice paddies. This one below was taken along the road last year near Yuu Spa.
Here are some nearby firefly viewing spots:
Iwakuni Minamikawachi District: Website
Three Falls (Futashika Umezu): Website
Famous Firefly Viewing/Festivals near Iwakuni
Yamaguchi City: Website
Hofu City: Website
More locations: Website
Firefly Season: Typically late May/early June
Best time to View: Before 9:00 or 10:00 PM to see them active.
Bring: Tripod (if photographing them), flashlight/head light for walking), extra layers of clothing, and bug spray.
Caution: Some of the spots we’ve visited around Iwakuni were right next to winding roads with little or few street lights. If you decide to go off-the-beaten path and find these little known spots, please be careful!