• The Firefly Party and the Japanese Iris Exhibition
  • The Firefly Party and the Japanese Iris Exhibition
  • The Firefly Party and the Japanese Iris Exhibition

The Firefly Party and the Japanese Iris Exhibition

This early summer event is unique to Yugawara where the water is pristine!
As the shades of night fall, Genji fireflies (Luciola cruciata) dance around near the water in Manyo Park. The fireflies of Manyo Park are first bred in “Fireflies’ Cabin” until they grow into larvae, and are then released by the first graders of Yugawara Elementary School in mid March. What guests see are fireflies that have been generated naturally, later. In addition, large numbers of wild fireflies inhabit the Fujiki, Chitose and Niizaki rivers, and, during the firefly season, you can enjoy viewing fireflies all over Yugawara Town. Please enjoy this fantastic time when fireflies dance around among the trees in the darkness.

Manyo Park has no entrance restriction throughout the year, and after the event is over, the usual lighting (park road lights) is turned on for safety. This may make it difficult to view fireflies, since the whole park becomes bright. After the event is over, there will be no staff on attendance, so please be very careful about your safety in the park.

Running period ※The running period for 2016 will be decided around mid March.
It is tentatively scheduled to take place from early to mid June.
Running time 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (The Japanese Iris Exhibition starts at 10:00 a.m.)
Venue Kaboku en (inside Manyo Park)
Admission fee Free of charge
Inquiries Yugawara Onsen Tourism Association Phone: 0465-64-1234
google map

About appreciating fireflies in Kaboku en in Manyo Park

①During the Firefly Party at “Kaboku en,” in Manyo Park, it is very dark with only the footlights on, so that you can thoroughly enjoy the light of the fireflies. Please watch your step.

②Please, refrain from bringing your pets into the firefly viewing zone (Kaboku en, Manyo Park).

③ Please, note that there will be no staff on attendance after 9:00 p.m., even though you can still enter the park after that. Please be careful, however, as the lights along the road to the venue are turned off at 11:00 p.m.

Access the entrance to Manyo Park from the square in front of the Yugawara Tourist Hall.

The walk to the venue is about five minutes. There is a long flight of stairs.

Walk a little more after passing Rifuku Shrine. You will find the place for hanging ema (votive picture tablets) on your right.

Please, take your time and enjoying meeting the fireflies in “Kaboku-en.”

Please, practice good manners while appreciating the fireflies.

① Camera flashes are prohibited where fireflies can be seen!
It is difficult even for professional photographers to take photos of fireflies, and nearly impossible to take good pictures with ordinary cameras. Moreover, the flare of flashlight in the dark has a very bad effect on the eye.

② Bright light can have a negative influence on fireflies.
Light has such a strong impact on fireflies that even the light of a full moon restrains their light emitting activities. Fireflies prefer darkness, so they can better sense the light of friends and members of the opposite sex, and communicate through light. Camera flashes can have a negative effect on their natural behavior.

Help conserve the beautiful environment where fireflies can grow-up safely.  We ask for your kind cooperation.

Q & A about fireflies

When is the best season to see fireflies fly?
The season varies from place to place, but in Yugawara fireflies fly from late May through late June.
Many people ask when the largest number of fireflies fly, but they are natural creatures and their numbers are greatly influenced by the climate of the year and the weather of the day.
After fireflies have begun to appear, we take a variety of things into account and then make a rough guess about when the most fireflies can be viewed. But the accuracy of the guess depends on subsequent weather conditions, so it is rather difficult to make an accurate prediction. Information on about how many fireflies can be seen will be posted on this page, so please check before visiting the venue!

On what kind of days do many fireflies fly?
Fireflies fly most actively on warm, cloudy, windless nights―nights that meet the three most favorable conditions for fireflies. Even more fireflies can be seen on dark nights without moonlight. On rainy, windy or chilly evenings, however, they hide on the backs of leaves or in the bushes where they can avoid the wind and rain, so they cannot be seen flying. Naturally, fireflies fly in the evening, but the actual time span when many fireflies fly is pretty limited. Many fireflies begin to come out right after sunset, with the first peak usually happening around 9:00 p.m. The second peak comes around 12:00 a.m. and the third around 3:00 a.m. Of the three peaks the largest number of fireflies fly at the first peak, and during this time their activities last the longest. After the peaks in their activities are over, each firefly goes to sleep in the grass or in the trees.

Why do fireflies flash?
It is said that males and females emit light to find partners. The substance called “luciferin” and the enzyme called “luciferase,” which are present in their bodies, react and cause them to give off light. But it is not known exactly why their light flickers.

How many kinds of fireflies are there?
Only “Genji fireflies” (Luciola cruciata) can be seen in Yugawara, but it is said that there are 2,000 kinds all over the world. In Japan, about 43 to 48 kinds have been found.
Among these, “Genji fireflies” and “Heike fireflies” (Luciola lateral or Japanese fireflies) are considered to be very rare in the world, because they spend their larval stage in the water. Most other kinds live on land almost all their lives.

Info on the venues of the Firefly Party and the Japanese Iris Exhibition

During the “Firefly Party,” food and drink and local handicrafts are sold at the square in front of the Tourist Hall.
There are many types of food, such as fried noodles, grilled chicken skewers and croquettes, prepared by the local shopping center.  Since table seating is available in the square, please take your time and enjoy the feeling of an early summer’s evening breeze.  (In the case of inclement weather, sale of food and drink may be cancelled, depending on how hard it is raining.) Handicraft stalls open: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m./ Food and drink stalls open: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.)

Yugawara Onsen’s “uchiwa” are given away after 7:30 p.m. every night!
Every night, during the period of the “Firefly Party,” Yugawara Onsen’s original uchiwa (round paper fans) are given away to the first 1,000 people to visit the venue.
The uchiwa have a stylish ukiyoe picture on them.♪
Since the fans are limited in number, one person can get only one uchiwa. (Please note that even during the Firefly Party, the distribution will end as soon as the uchiwa have run out.)

The Japanese Iris Exhibition is held at the same time!
The Japanese iris blooms during the same period as the fireflies fly.
The Tourist Hall multi purpose plaza is likened to a Japanese iris garden, and about 200 varieties of Japanese irises are displayed in as many as 3,500 pots. Their seedlings are on sale, too.

Transportation Info for the Firefly Party and the Japanese Iris Exhibition

 By bus from JR Yugawara Station  Take the bus for Oku yugawara or Fudo taki and get off at “Ochiaibashi” bus stop (about a 10 minute ride).
※Buses for Oku yugawara or Fudo taki operate every 10 to 15 minutes.
※Buses for Yugawara Station operate every 10 to 15 minutes, until the last bus leaves Ochiaibashi bus stop at 21:57.
By taxi from JR Yugawara Station  About a 7 minute ride from Yugawara Station.