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. Equity

    Hope You Aren't Counting on Getting a Tax Refund This Winter

    Millions of low-income households rely on the Earned Income Tax Credit to help them get through the winter. Too bad most IRS workers are furloughed.

  2. Two men plant a young tree in a lot in Detroit.
    Environment

    Why Detroit Residents Pushed Back Against Tree-Planting

    Detroiters were refusing city-sponsored “free trees.” A researcher found out the problem: She was the first person to ask them if they wanted them.

  3. A photo of President Donald Trump showing off U.S.-Mexico border wall prototypes in March 2018.
    Perspective

    This Isn't a Border Wall: It's a Monument to White Supremacy

    Like Confederate monuments, President Trump’s vision of a massive wall along the Mexican border is about propaganda and racial oppression, not national security.

  4. A brownstone in Brooklyn, where Airbnb growth has been particularly strong in recent years.
    Life

    What Airbnb Did to New York City

    Airbnb’s effects on the city’s housing market have been dramatic, a report suggests. And other cities could soon see the same pattern.

  5. A photo of a Family Mart convenience store in Japan.
    Life

    The Language Debate Inside Japan's Convenience Stores

    Throughout Japan, store clerks and other service industry workers are trained to use the elaborate honorific speech called “manual keigo.” But change is coming.