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Japanese Seasonal Events: Firefly Watching 2

Firefly watching in Shirochi, Takahashi

In Okayama prefecture, there are at least seven places listed on the website that I visited. I decided to pick one with easy access and free parking area. The viewing spot is located in Ochiai-cho, Shirochi, Takahashi-shi. In other viewing spots, artificially-reared fireflies are released to join other wild fireflies. While in Shirochi area, fireflies are all wild. The type of firefly that can be seen is the Japanese firefly, Genji-botaru.

I arrived at the place hours earlier and only saw few people, probably just like me, also waiting for the fireflies. According to the information provided in the website, they come out around 8 to 10 o’clock in the evening. I have a lot of time to kill, so I walked around the area while it’s still bright.

Around the area

Shirochi, Takahashi - Firefly viewing spot
River in the middle, almost covered with grasses

I saw this sign just right beside the river.

Information board - Firefly lifecycle
Information board, shows a map and life cycle of Japanese fireflies

Then, I met an old lady, one of the residents in the area, with her shiba (a Japanese breed) dog. She told me that the night before, not many fireflies were seen due to continuous rain. After hearing that, I got worried because it’s also raining that day. But still I decided to stay and wait, whatever the outcome will be.

It’s almost seven o’clock in the evening but the surrounding is still bright and still no sign of Japanese fireflies. There are many people already hanging around the riverside, mostly parents with their kids.

Shirochi, Takahashi - Firefly viewing spot 2
Bridge connecting to Takahashi City Shirochi Elementary School on the left side

 

Shirochi, Takahashi - Firefly viewing spot (surrounding)
Neighborhood of  the firefly preservation site

Parking Area

As I mentioned earlier that this spot also offers free parking which is inside Takahashi City Shirochi Elementary School’s ground, but actually that’s only available during festival. We visited a day after that, so there is not much space for parking, and everyone is trying to fit in their cars along side the road. Don’t worry, you won’t get a parking ticket.

Firefly Watching Time

And just like any salary man, it seems Japanese fireflies follow their working hours too as they began to appear from 8 PM. At first, only few of them start to light up and after 30 more minutes, we started to spot more of them.

I tried to capture the scenery by camera, but as expected it didn’t turned out great. Being inexperienced in taking photos in the dark with trembling hands, these are the only photos that I could managed to take.

Firefly watching - 2
Maybe female fireflies waiting for male fireflies to approach?

Firefly watching - Lights
Fireflies start to fly around

Firefly watching - upclose
Japanese Firefly up-close

Without the lights from the cars leaving and coming, you can barely see anything. Surrounding is totally in darkness. That might be inconvenient for people but fireflies prefer it that way. It seems most residents in the area sleep very early that even the only convenience store I saw already closed at exactly 5 PM.

How to get there

By Car

From Bicchutakahashi station, it takes about 20 minutes to get to Takahashi City Shirochi Elementary School. The school is located nearby the river where fireflies can be seen.

By Bus

You can take a ride from Bicchutakahashi station and stop at Nariwacho Shimohara. Then, you need to walk for about 45 minutes to get to the viewing spot.

Tidbit info

When I first saw the kanji word “福地”, I already assumed the reading is “Fukuchi”, which is the common reading for this. But it is actually read as “Shirochi” for Shirochi, Takahashi-shi.

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ren

A gaijin in Okayama who enjoys viewing cherry blossom in spring, fireworks in summer, eating grilled sanma (Pacific saury fish) in autumn and oden in winter.

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