Wish Upon A Star! Top 7 Spots in Japan to Enjoy Glorious Starry Skies
People tend to forget to look up at the night sky and gaze at the stars. So, how about trying to go stargazing on nights when you travel to enjoy special things? Below are the top spots for stunning starry skies all over Japan.
1. Taketomi-cho Haterumajima Hosizora Kansoku Tower (Okinawa)
Taketomi-cho Haterumajima Hosizora Kansoku Tower is a tower for viewing the starry sky of Haterumajima Island in Okinawa – the southernmost inhabited island in Japan. It is an extremely valuable spot in the country, because you can see 84 of the 88 constellations in the sky from here. There are no private houses and street lamps in the vicinity, and it is on the coastline where you can see the horizon, so you will be able to gaze at a sea of stars that are shining brightly in the night sky.
Admission fee: Adult: 400 JPY, Child: 200 JPY
2. Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane (Gunma)
Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane is located in the Kusatsu area of Gunma, which is known for spots like the Kusatsu onsen (hot spring) district. It is a place where you can fully enjoy nature via the ropeway during the daytime. However, at night, it transforms into a popular spot for stargazing. This mountain has an elevation of 2,160m. At the summit, they say that you can even see the Milky Way with the naked eye!
3. Star Village Achi (Nagano)
Located at the southern tip of Nagano, Achi Village is a famous spot that has been selected as the “best place for stargazing” in Japan (certified by the Ministry of the Environment). It has the right altitude for you to view a sky full of stars and a sea of clouds. It is filled with clean air, and is surrounded by mountains that are so beautiful that they will almost take your breath away. There are three different tours held at Achi Village depending on the season. More than 2,000 tourists join the stargazing tour on a single night! If you come here, you will get to enjoy a dramatic starry sky that will make you feel like you are actually in outer space.
Tenku no Rakuen (Paradise of the Sky) Winter Night Tour 2017 STARS BY NAKED
Dates: December 9, 2017 (Sat) – March 31, 2018 (Sat)
Price: Adult: 2,200 JPY, Child: 1,000 JPY, Infant: Free
4. Lake Shoji (Yamanashi)
Lake Shoji is the smallest lake among the Fuji Goko (Five Lakes of Mt. Fuji). It is also a famous spot for looking at beautiful stars. Apart from the few road lights, outside light hardly infiltrates this lake, so you will be able to gaze at the gorgeous stars. If you’re lucky, a sea of clouds will even appear in the sky! You might even see the spectacular collaboration between Mt. Fuji and the starry sky.
5. Ibara City Hoshizora Park/Bisei Observatory (Okayama)
Known as the town whose name means “town of beautiful stars”, Bisei-cho in Okayama is a place where you can appreciate wonderful stars, just as its name suggests. On top of being chosen as one of the best stargazing spots in Japan, this town is also famous as the first place in Japan to have enforced a local ordinance against light pollution. With a ban in place for outdoor lighting fixtures and other kinds of lights, you will be able to look at a sky full of glittering stars in deep darkness here. Inside the town, there are two spots that are particularly recommended for stargazing – Ibara City Hoshizora Park, which is the best place for stargazing, and Bisei Observatory, which is perfect for astronomical observing.
Bisei Observatory Admission fee: Elementary students and older: 300 JPY
6. Hironomakiba Observatory (Iwate)
Hironomakiba Observatory is an observatory that is perched on top of a hill surrounded by pastures. People are drawn to this spot because of the wonderful 360-degree view that it gives to visitors and the minimal amount of artificial light in the area. It has also been chosen as the “best place in Japan to see a starry sky”. There are even high-performance jumbo telescopes with an aperture of 51cm installed at the observatory.
Admission fee: Adult (high school student and older): 210 JPY, Child (elementary and junior high school students): 100 JPY
7. Kopepe Beach (Tokyo)
The last spot on this list is Kopepe Beach – a beach in Ogasawara Islands that is registered as a World Heritage Site. Here, you can see the sparkling Milky Way in an environment where you are surrounded by lush nature. If the timing is right, you may also get to see the Green Pepe – a mushroom that lights up and shines green in the darkness, as well as rare animals and plants, such as nocturnal animals that are unique to Ogasawara.
A moment spent looking at a sky filled with stars could turn into the moment when even the exhaustion from the daily grind disappears. So, try to visit the above spots!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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