If you’ve ever spent the summer in Japan, you know that it’s not the heat, but the humidity that makes many people want to take refuge indoors with the air conditioning blasting. But the silver lining to this cloud is the clouds themselves, as all that moisture in the air can turn Japan’s summer skies into a stunning puffy white landscape.

On the evening of August 5, skywatchers in the Tokyo/Yokohama area that turned their eyes to the west saw a towering, lightning-spitting thundercloud so powerfully majestic it immediately drew comparisons to one of Studio Ghibli’s most beloved anime.

After a June and July that were both drier than usual, Japan is back to its old, muggy self these days. With both the temperature and humidity soaring, no doubt many people tried to put off their errands on the 5th until later in the day, when the sun was going down and things were starting to cool off. But while the early evening was considerably more comfortable than the afternoon, it was still muggy enough for this amazing cumulonimbus cloud to form.

▼ Click play to start the light(ning) show.


This is obviously a humbling display of the beauty of nature, but it also reminded several observers of a work of animation. Specifically, it reminded them of Castle in the Sky Laputa, the very first film produced under the Studio Ghibli name, in which the titular castle is located in the center of a gigantic cluster of clouds, wind, and lightning called the Dragon’s Nest.

Laputa’s Dragon’s Nest

▼ Real Dragon’s Nest

A steady stream of electric activity meant the cloud could still easily be seen even after the sun dipped below the horizon.


Truly an awesome sight, and definitely worth getting out of the house and braving the humidity to see. After all, you can always shower again after you get home.

Source: Jin, Twitter/@Elthiana