Toyama #3: Hotaru Ika (ホタルイカ)

This postcard’s so pretty, isn’t it? The third postcard from Toyama Prefecture features hotaru ika. Hotaru means firefly in Japanese, and ika is squid. Firefly squid?! That’s right! These unique and beautiful squid are something special around March to May, as thousands of them converge along the coastline to breed. These small squid have photophores, light emitting cells, all over their bodies, and as they come close to the surface in spring to breed, we get to witness a wonderful spectacle as the water along the beach seems to glow blue!

This video, while showing just pictures, gives you a good idea of what the coastline looks like around this time. You can see them as I said above from March to May, whether along the beach, out on a tourist boat to watch the fishermen bring in a catch of them, or at the Hotaru Ika Museum (English) Hotaru Ika are also considered a delicacy, and herald spring. So even if you can’t make it to Toyama to see them out in the water, you can try some at sushi restaurants around Japan, or in the shape of crackers and other foods from Toyama.

When the hotaru ika arrive, Spring has finally come!