July 2015 Japan: Glowing Mushrooms! One of the highlights of our trip to Hachijo-jima, Japan was a nighttime walk to look at the glowing mushrooms. We went to Hachijo, a small island about 180 miles south of Tokyo, to scuba dive (my post about the blennies we saw) but our host, Kotaro Tanaka, graciously took us on several top-side excursions to show us the natural and cultural beauty of the island.
One night, accompanied by Kotaro’s charming family, we walked about 20 minutes through a park, passing several other small groups of flashlight-wielding mushroom hunters until Kotaro pointed out a tiny, green glow. I couldn’t get a good shot with my little automatic camera so I handed it to Kotaro. He got enough of a shot so you get an idea of what the luminescent mushrooms look like.
Once we had a search image for them, we saw many, so after a few futile attempts to capture a photo, I gave up and just enjoyed the experience. I found an online article from the Japan Times that explained the glow (from the enzyme, luciferese) and an online search produces many good images.