At the beginning of summer here in Japan, several temples or parks extend their normal operating hours to give way to fireflies(hotaru) watching. I have seen several of this event in Kyoto but unfortunately it is normally on a weekday. Already tired from work and do not want to be stuck on rush hour train, I usually do not go. Till last Saturday.
It’s been ages since my last visit to the Exp’70 Commemorative Park or Banpaku-Kinen Koen, the only thing I remember about the place is that there is a big weird tower in front of the gate called The Tower of the Sun.
I had mixed feeling of joining the meetup last Saturday and yes I was feeling a bit lazy again. But I was bored and T had to work in the afternoon and so I decided to go and it was the right decision.
We were supposed to meet near the station gate at 3 in the afternoon but several participants missed or got on the wrong train and was lost so we decided to wait for them till about 3:30 Pm.
Entrance to park is 250 yen/person and if there are more than 20 people you can get a 50 yen discount each. Time to start touring the park.
First stop was to check out the Rose Garden, which unfortunately were almost done. Most of it where already starting to dry up and wither but I did found this one.
We still have a few hours left before we can see the fireflies so we went to the park tower where you can see a view the whole park.
The fireflies were estimated to come out around 8 in the evening, so we decided to grab something to eat and have a light dinner. The fireflies viewing is located in the Japanese Garden area.
When it started to get dark, we can slowly make out some of the fireflies in the bushes. It was my first time to see fireflies ( I think ), I stopped and watch for a few minutes. The next thing I know Cindy , the girl from Indonesia and I got separated from the group. When we got to one of the viewing area near a waterfall, we just continued watching the fireflies and forgot the rest of the group :D. Around 8, the trees at waterfall area looks like a christmas tree with lights flickering on and off. It was a really nice experience. The place was crowded so we cannot stay at the place long, we have to move and give chance to other guest. But it was really nice. Unfortunately, I need to have a really powerful camera to be capture this moment. Having a first hand experience was much better than just watching/looking at it from a picture. I was really glad that I decided to join.
Now, it was time to go home. Some decided to grab some late dinner at different place since there are not restaurant nearby but I was tired and I can feel my allergy starting, so I said my goodbye to everybody and left.
A eerie night shot of the sun tower.
There are several ways to access the park, the easiest way can be found here.
The cheapest way I found was to take the Hankyu Line from Umeda bound for Kita-Senri station and get off at Hankyu Yamada Station. Change to Monorail Line bound for Kadomashi and get off at Banpaku Kinen Park. The whole trip cost 460 yen.