Special Contents
Tatsuno Town Firefly Festival
Tatsuno Town - Shops and stall on Honmachi-Dori and around the station. Firefly viewing is Tatsuno Hotaru Doyo Park.
Around mid-June lasting one to two weeks
17:00 – 22:00 – Shops and festivities are from around 17:00. Fireflies can be seen after it gets dark at around 20:00.
Train – The festival takes place right in front of Tatsuno Station. Trains take about 3 hours from Tokyo and Nagoya, 4 hours from Osaka, and about 40 minutes from Matsumoto.

Car – Driving to the center of Tatsuno, local festival staff will show guide you to the festival goer’s car park. From there you will walk to the festival.
The Festival
Tatsuno Town in the north of the Ina Valley, is absolutely mad about fireflies. They are the symbol of the town and the locals go to great lengths to protect them. Every year, around the middle of June, Tatsuno holds its annual Firefly Festival. From start to finish it lasts around a week or two. Tens of thousands of visitors come to see the thousands of fireflies that fly, flash, and dance their way around Tatsuno Hotaru Doyo Park. There are several varieties of fireflies that can be found in Tatsuno Town. However, it is the Genji Firefly that is the star of the show at the Firefly Festival.

The fireflies of Tatsuno have a long history. During the Edo period, the lord of Suwa Domain traveled by boat to Tatsuno to watch them. Fireflies love gentle flowing, clean, nutrient-rich waters. The Tenryu River in Tatsuno is close to its source at Lake Suwa. These waters provide the ideal environment for fireflies. However, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the fireflies of Tatsuno. Since the end of the Edo period, as Japan industrialized, Tatsuno has come very close to losing its symbol on two occasions. But, thanks to the environmental protection activities of the local school children and volunteers, the population of fireflies now thrives.
The festival gets underway at around 5 pm. Hundreds of shops line the usually sleepy high street of Honmachi-Dori located right in front of Tatsuno Station. Excited visitors enjoy street food, play festival games, and wait for it to get dark. At around 8 pm darkness fully falls and a mass migration of festival goers walk from the shops and stalls to the Tatsuno Hotaru Doyo Park. The path is lit up with Japanese lanterns and the sound of frogs happily croaking away in nearby rice fields fills the air. The scene is like something out of a Studio Ghibli movie - Spirited Away seems distinctly appropriate.
If you are lucky and your timing is good, thousands upon thousands of fireflies fill the darkness of the night. The light patterns of the fireflies create an illuminous synchronized pulse all around. As the night grows deeper, visitors slowly disperse, heading to wherever they will lay their heads that night. Street food vendors stop serving food at around 10 pm and the town goes to sleep, awaiting the next day of festivities.

There is really no festival like it, and while it is relatively popular among the Japanese, it is pretty much completely unknown to foreign audiences. Planning a trip to Japan in June? Putting this into your itinerary will make your trip truly special.