Firefly habitat in Okayama

Firefly habitat in Okayama

During an October visit to Okayama, a friend stumbled upon an amazing firefly habitat in Nishigawa park, a small canal with a lovely walking path cutting through the center of the city. Although now hatching below water, as the sign above shows, it was amazing to see how a city creats an urban habitat for fireflies. And it reminds me of Professor Suzuki Makoto’s firefly project in Shinagawa, Tokyo.

Okayama firefly habitat

The firefly habitat occupies one long block of the Nishigawa park, which has different walkways, seating areas and plant arrangements on each block. For fireflies, there is a small slow-flowing, side canal where the fireflies hatch on the opposite side of the wood bridge from the main canal. A huge wall of vegetation provides nocturnal darkness and protection.

Firefly habitat in Okayama

I am curious how long the park has been around, and what it is like during summer firefly season.

More on Nishigawa park after the jump.

Nishigawa park

Every block of Nishigawa park is different. Above is a more traditional park with a wide walking path on the right. Notice, too, how close the water is to the path. In Tokyo, most rivers and canals are embedded in concrete 5 meters or more below the ground level, with little access or interaction.

Below is a block with a wide stone bridge that brings you even closer to the water.

Nishigawa park

The cross streets have bridges for cars, and one has a sign explaining the war damage from World War II firebombs. It is good to see history being preserved and remembered.

War damage Sign about war damage

The access to the water heightens visitors’ interaction with nature. I wonder why Tokyo does not try something like these steps leading directly to the water.

Nishigawa steps lead to water

Finally, I was enchanted by volunteer fall flowers, a large bird, and even a strange over-sized flower basket.

Nishigawa park in Okayama Nishigawa park in Okayama Nishigawa park in Okayama

One comment

  1. Is it not amazing what one finds by simply following a beetle?

    I am coordinating projects with a green group in South Carolina. In looking for “entry-level” environmental activities, I have been exploring the fire-fly/lightening bugs (the latter is what most of us in the Southern U.S. call them) issues.

    This public habitat is a great inspiration.

    On personal notes, I have not traveled to Japan. I have a cousin who has been several times and is very enthusiastic about culture, people and places. Generally, I just say, “Uh-huh. Sure.” Things like this lead me to think he is the more perceptive.

    And, yes, the populations of these creatures does seem to be declining. What to do? Communication between all of us is more important than ever.

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