Watch the Magical and Ephemeral Dance of Japanese Fireflies!

The Japanese eagerly await the month of June every year. They crowd along riverbanks, lakes or nearby water zones in hopes of seeing a show only Mother Nature knows how to put on – a poetic moment that draws people of all ages and only plays in the evening when all the conditions are in place.

Fireflies habitat in Japan

With summer comes a natural phenomenon which announces the arrival of the new season to the Japanese. Rain is usually dreaded in this season, but it becomes an advantage, perhaps even the necessary ingredient to the magic. After a downpour, when the air is still balmy and humid, smalllights appear by the hundreds, sometimes even by the thousands, like tiny lanterns floating in the heavens – fireflies.

Season of Japanese fireflies

Try to picture the wonder in your children’s eyes as this unrivaled show unfolds! A unique and ephemeral moment in time – fireflies only live for 7 to 10 days, and that only occurs during mating season. The only way to catch a glimpse of this phenomenon – which is actually the fireflies’ intimate “conversation” – is to be discreet. This experience is a singular one because it can only live on in your memory… It is not possible to capture it on camera, at least not without using the flash, which would most likely disturb the luminescent dance.

The shining signals are how fireflies communicate with one another. They occur thanks to a chemical reaction in their lower abdomen that causes this exceptional phenomenon, called bioluminescence.

Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo by night

During your stay at Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo, in Shimane Prefecture, take a look around you as night falls for a chance to admire the show. Finding the fireflies is as easy as identifying humid or wooded areas, ideally clean ones near a river since fireflies are picky. And to be certain not to miss the moment, keep an eye on the weather and check the websites dedicated to this happening called “hotaru matsuri”.

firefly-hotaru-matsuri-ceremony

The spring Joppari festival: a magical tribute to the apple blossom

Japanese are very sensitive to the seasons, attached to traditions, and very in tune with nature. That’s why besides the 4 seasons that are particularly outstanding in the country, there are many more which occur as the months go by, perhaps introduced by the arrival of a bird, or a gust of a new wind, or the blooming of a tree, always promising enchanting moments just waiting to be discovered by you.

Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya

Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya is organising the first Joppari festival dedicated to apple blossom. From 8 April to 30 June 2016, you can explore an unusual scene. Jawamegu square, in the centre of the resort, is completely decorated with lanterns for the occasion, each one reproducing the likeness of the apple blossom to allow you to relive the magic of this moment when the flowers open.

Japanese Joppari festival lanterns

Did you know that during these celebrations, the Japanese flock around a stand set up in the centre of the square to pull out their “omikuji”, a small strip of paper with a prediction? Whatever the subject (love, health, work, etc.), everyone is curious to find out what the future holds for them. Once these have been read, there are two possible solutions: keep the paper if the prediction is good or tie it to a tree if it is not so good. Why not discover what the future holds for you in this enchanting scene?

Traditional lantern and umbrella in Japan

During these joyous and festive evenings, you can experience magical moments, admiring the lanterns to the sound of music, and walking along a path of parasols. These delicate Japanese umbrellas, decorated with flowers using a waxing technique that is used in Aomori festivals, are lit up fantastically. At night, head out to the park and enjoy this Japanese-style light spectacle that can only be experienced during spring.

Drink Japanese cocktails of fruits

You can only experience these enchanting and timeless moments in Japan, where people respect traditions and never cease to admire nature, creating those magical moments that you are invited to share. So, when are you coming?

3 must-do trails in Japan

Discover an unspoilt and authentic Japan

Nature and fresh air are on the itinerary for 3 trails in the Mount Bandaï region in the centre of Japan. Why not find out for yourself?

Mount Bandai area for trail in Japan

Spring is the ideal season for enjoying a stay in natural surroundings in the Mount Bandaï region. The Hoshino Resorts Bandaisan Onsen Hotel offers a wonderful view of the mountain and Lake Inawashiro, but is also the ideal starting point for discovering unspoilt and real nature. So why don’t you come and visit?

Forest and woodland in Mount Bandai

3 trails are provided, all tailored to everyone’s tastes and physical fitness, so whether your requirements are sporty or family-orientated, you can find one tailored to your needs. Each route leads you into the heart of unspoilt and unimagined nature, you walk through winding trails which interweave between mountains and villages; a full immersion in this region abundant in 300 lakes and marshes which appeared after the eruption of the volcano on Mount Bandai in 1888. The bountiful nature conceals many sources of high purity mineral water, suitable for rice cultivation, but also for making the excellent sakes produced in the region.

Luxury Hoshino Resorts hotel veranda panorama

Mount Bandai hotel room

The first route is rather quiet and family-orientated, a path in a lush forest, whose colours in spring change from day to day: magic happens and the scenery changes completely. For lunch, you can taste one of the local specialities, Aizu sauce, which accompanies delicious breaded pork cutlets.

The second route for the more sporty is about 10 kilometres and beckons you to discover Tsurugajo castle, surrounded by a beautiful golf course, and then you can continue with a visit to some historic temples and shrines before finishing at local handicraft workshops and tasting the famous “Dengaku miso” (aubergines in miso) at one of the stands.

The last trail, which is 15 km long, leads you along paths traced by climbers 1,500 years ago between the cities of Aizu and Kitakata, a hike in the fresh air marked by a visit to Buddhist temples and shrines, but also soy sauce factories and sake breweries. And for lunch, why not try a bowl of Kitakata Ramen, one of the most famous dishes in Japan, made here with a mild soy sauce broth, flavoured with a mixture of pork, chicken, and fish.

This stopping point in the centre of the island allows you to discover nature shaped by the mountainous landscape, and is a fantastic way for you to explore a fascinating and authentic Japan for healthy, calm holidays completely away from it all.

HOSHINOYA Kyoto, luxury and refinement of a ryokan in Kyoto

Once you are over the Togetsukyo Bridge at Kyoto, the mystery still remains unsolved. You can see no shadow of a hotel and the landscape reveals no clues except for the banks of the Ôigawa River that you have to reach when you realise that the journey does not end there.

Hoshino Resorts HOSHINOYA Kyoto hotel boat

Once you are free of your luggage, you are invited to head for the pontoon, where a very beautiful wooden boat is moored waiting for you to get into. The engine starts up; the boat slips away from its anchorage with you on board and heads for HOSHINOYA Kyoto. The pace is slow and the ride is pleasant, the perfect pace for you to observe nature and try to make out your destination, but you still have to wait.

Boat on a river in Kyoto

Ten minutes later, the bank is getting closer and you finally catch sight of the first outlines of Arashiyama. You have hardly set your feet on dry land when you look up and your gaze is lost in these natural wooded surroundings to try and see where the hamlet, whose first buildings can be glimpsed a few metres from the water, extends to. You are plagued by impatience and the desire to know more.

You must now take the stairs in front of you and then go up the grey stone path to reach the heart of the hamlet. Once you have crossed the threshold the magic happens; you hear the sound of water in the fountain and soft music being played live by musicians with gentle faces, some armchairs are set out ready to welcome you so that you can fully appreciate the tranquillity of the surroundings: Welcome to HOSHINOYA Kyoto.

Ryokan luxury hotel room of the Hoshino Resorts HOSHINOYA Kyoto

This village which appears to be clinging on to the slopes of the hill is a place of tranquillity and pleasure. Once you have arrived, stress disappears and your worries and cares are left far behind, and your holidays can begin. You check in and are then led to your room based on the concept of a Ryokan, traditional Japanese inns which blend tradition and modernity and in addition luxurious refinement.

Traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, Japan

During your stay, choose to “let go”. Breathe, forget everyday life and immerse yourself in one of these rituals which makes Japan fascinating. The tea ceremony is certainly the most iconic. Then Hojicha, one kind of Japanese green tea, is prepared in the room accompanied by a traditional delicious pastry, which adds to the charm and refinement of the moment. Let yourself be captivated by the incense ceremony scheduled in the late morning which will teach you a little bit more about the subtlety of the Japanese people.

Japanese Kaiseki Food by Chef Ichiro Kubota

Although the surroundings beckon you to rest and total relaxation, it is also an opportunity for all you food lovers to try Kaiseki cuisine. Chef Ichiro Kubota offers contemporary cuisine which is respectful of Kyoto’s culinary traditions, linking together a succession of elegant and colourful dishes, a tasty journey ingrained with refinement and Japanese precision; a meal which can be enjoyed with one of the sakes on the menu in order to fully follow the Japanese lifestyle. And when you finish why not sit in HOSHINOYA Kyoto lounge bar to sample one of the excellent Japanese whiskies available for tasting. The numerous suggestions will delight whisky lovers and convince novices.