Tokyo Hotaru Festival

The city's Hotaru festival uses LED bulbs designed to mimic the light of the insects that once “gemmed” the Sumida River. 

Summer fireworks at the Sumida River has long been a Tokyo event with crowds gathering on the banks of the river for a spectacular light and sound show. The first Tokyo Hotaru festival kicked off last week that gave the tradition a technological twist, recreating the skybound bursts of flame and sparks using 100,000 LED lights that bobbed down the riverside. The LED bulbs, called “prayer stars”, were designed to mimic the light of the hotaru (“fireflies”) believed to have once “gemmed” the Sumida. Manufactured by Panasonic, the lights ran completely on solar power, and nets were set in place to collect them for reuse for future events.

The lights floated by the equally luminous Tokyo Sky Tree, the world’s tallest tower that’s set to open within the end of the month. The festival organizers hope that the “Hotaru” would help catalyze a “renaissance” of the Sumida River, which endeavors to preserve and clean green space adjacent to the water that will foster increased activity in the area.

Top image courtesy Tokyo Hotaru Festival

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    The History of Sears Predicts Nearly Everything Amazon Is Doing

    One hundred years ago, a retail giant that shipped millions of products by mail moved swiftly into the brick-and-mortar business, changing it forever. Is that happening again?

  2. Transportation

    An App For Democratizing Street Design

    So far, tech companies have been determining how driverless cars will fit into the grid. ReStreet invites you to weigh in.

  3. POV

    Why the Future Looks Like Pittsburgh

    The city’s rise as a global innovation city reflects decades of investment in emerging technology, a new Brookings report says.

  4. Life

    Where New York City Is Going Next

    In part two of our interview with Dan Doctoroff, the former deputy mayor of economic development and current CEO of Sidewalk Labs shares his thoughts on zoning, transportation, technology, and President Trump.

  5. Solutions

    America's Loneliest Town Is Searching for a Match

    It's four hours to the nearest airport, three hours to Walmart, and there's no high-speed internet. But this tiny mining town is still determined to join the 21st century.