Published 12:34 IST, May 23rd 2024

Viral: Mystical Pillars Of Light In Japan's Night Sky Spark Sensation

Viral photos of rare light pillars in Japan spark online theories, revealing a natural phenomenon involving ice crystals reflecting boat lights.

Reported by: Digital Desk
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Nature is an amazing thing and time after time it displays its magical side to humans. Recently, the coastal town of Daisen in Japan’s Tottori prefecture became the epicentre of such a spectacle when stunning photos showcasing nine suspended lines or pillars of light in the night sky went viral. These awe-inspiring images, first captured by a photographer known as Maashii, quickly gained over 12 million views and sparked widespread speculation and wonder.

The sighting occurred on May 11 at around 10 pm. Maashii, who has resided in Daisen for nine years, mentioned to Japanese website Hint-Pot that he has witnessed these mythical-looking lights only three or four times during his stay. Seizing the rare opportunity, he promptly took out his phone and captured the enchanting scene.


Check out the post:

The post was shared with a caption that says, “A streak of light was spotted in the sky above Mikuriya Port in Daisen Town, Tottori at around 10pm today.”

As the photos garnered thousands of likes and spread across social media platforms, the internet buzzed with theories. Some speculated that the lights were signals from extraterrestrials or appearances of angels, while others humorously suggested that a sci-fi manga series was coming to life.


However, the true explanation behind these lights, while not supernatural, is equally fascinating. According to a 2015 article in Japan Today, such "pillars of light" frequently appear in various coastal towns across Japan under specific weather conditions. These occurrences, known locally as “isaribi kochu” or “fish-attracting light pillars,” happen when overnight temperatures drop and water vapour in the air crystallises into ice.

What makes these light pillars particularly captivating is their rarity. On unique occasions, the weather conditions are such that these ice crystals form without resulting in precipitation. These suspended crystals reflect light from nearby sources, such as shipping boats, creating the illusion of bright, vertical light rods.


Despite their striking appearance, “isaribi kochu” is a rare phenomenon. Japan Today notes that even lighthouse staff, who are ideally positioned to observe these events, typically witness them only once a year.

The recent viral photos from Daisen and Nariishi Beach in Kotoura Town, just 12.7 km east of Daisen, have brought this natural marvel into the global spotlight. While the pillars of light may not herald an alien invasion or a celestial event, they undoubtedly add to the enchanting beauty of Japan's coastal nights.


12:34 IST, May 23rd 2024