June is the starting month of a rainy season in Japan which usually last until the mid of July. The season is greeted as tsuyu (or baiyu), literally means “Plum rain” as it coincides with the season of plums ripening. The rain is caused by the collision of cold northern and warm southern air winds, which resulted in a relatively bad weather for several weeks.
Thanks to the rain bioluminescent (glow in the dark) mushroom can sprout itself from native broadleaf forests in Japan. These glowing ghostly green mushrooms are called, ‘Mycena lux-coeli’ or heavenly light mushroom. The locals call it ‘shii no tomobishi-dake’, means chinquapin glow mushrooms as you can usually find them on fallen Chinquapin tree.
They thrive in humid environment in the rainy season of Japan and would typically last for within that period only. The caps of the mushrooms can grow 1 to 2 cm wide in diameter if enough water are provided.
The reason to why they would glow and other won’t is because it contain an enzyme known as luciferese. When this enzyme is oxidized, it will emit energy in the form of light, which causes organisms containing it to glow.
For a long time they were thought to exist only on tiny Hachijo-jima island but later in 1995 mycologists discovered the same mushrooms growing in the rural area of Susami-chi in Wakayama Prefecture, Kii Peninsula and Kyushu too.
So, if you’re in Japan this rainy season try to find the chance to looks at these mushrooms in the dark night as you switch off your flashlight while hiking to one of the location above. Oh, don’t worry too much on the rain although it got more than in other months it’s not so often you’ll get hit according to the weather chart.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have some around your home to act as a light source at night? With your modern interior designed home of contrasting colors. It can definitely beat your multipurpose squid lamp (if you have one).