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. Smoke from the fires hangs over Brazil.
    Environment

    Why the Amazon Is on Fire

    The rash of wildfires now consuming the Amazon rainforest can be blamed on a host of human factors, from climate change to deforestation to Brazilian politics.

  2. a map of London Uber driver James Farrar's trip data.
    Transportation

    For Ride-Hailing Drivers, Data Is Power

    Uber drivers in Europe and the U.S. are fighting for access to their personal data. Whoever wins the lawsuit could get to reframe the terms of the gig economy.

  3. Fishing boats, with high rises on the banks and a mosque in the distance.
    Environment

    Will Sea-Level Rise Claim Egypt’s Second-Largest City?

    Al-Max village in Alexandria was ruined by floods in 2015. Yet, despite climate change’s growing threat to the city, critics say it has scarcely been addressed.

  4. Graduates react near the end of commencement exercises at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S.
    Life

    Where Do College Grads Live? The Top and Bottom U.S. Cities

    Even though superstar hubs top the list of the most educated cities, other cities are growing their share at a much faster rate.

  5. An aerial photo of downtown Miami.
    Life

    The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

    Looking at the population and job growth of large cities proper, rather than their metro areas, uncovers some surprises.

×