Tokyo Hotaru Festival


The Tokyo Hotaru 2013 is a seasonal spectacular on the Sumida river that may not be the real firefly deal, but it looks just as stunning.

Hotaru, as they call fireflies in Japanese, only come for a very short time in June, depending where in the country you are… For about two weeks, they hang around clear water bodies, and if you walk around after dusk, particularly in rural areas, you can catch the spectacle they offer: hundreds of glowing bodies perched on tall grass and flying about.

Short of being able to offer the real insects, Tokyo came up with its own solution last year in the form of thousands of floating LEDs which will bring the Sumida River to life. This could surpass any Christmas illumination you’ve seen – especially for class – and is accompanied by a “symphony of sounds”.

Panasonic has again provided “about 100,000” floating lights known as inorihoshi (lit. prayer stars) which look a bit like table tennis balls and contain LEDs that will light up the river as they are released and float past the Sky Tree and other Asakusa landmarks.

So how does it work? You can ‘buy’ a prayer star for ¥1,000 – in the spirit of conservation, it will be re-used at future events and your money will go towards the ongoing regeneration of Tokyo’s parks riverbanks. Release your star in designated areas then sit back and see if you can spot it amongst the crowds… Or, you can just turn up and watch everything pass by while practising your long-exposure shots, enjoying some festival style foods on the riverfront and taking in great views of the Tokyo Sky Tree, also celebrating one year since it opened in 2012.

Tokyo Hotaru 2013 (click for more info)

When: May 25, 18:45 – 21:00 – get there in plenty of time if you want to grab a good spot along the Sumida. Stars need to be bought in advance of the 18:00 cut off.

Where: Sumida River Terrace

How much: ¥1,000/¥3,000

Image: 9bladed/Flickr



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