Walking on Drift Ice
Observe the starry skies of southernmost Japan
Of all the islands of Japan, the Yaeyama Islands, the main island of which is Ishigaki Island, lie closest to the equator. Its clear skies and the absence of fluctuations in the air result in stunningly beautiful starry skies, for which the region is known for. 84 of the 88 constellations can be seen, and the existence of an ancient document titled Seizu (star map) indicates that, from around 300 years ago, people observed the constellations as a guide for tilling the earth. The movement of the stars was referred to by the people at the time to mark the passing of time, in accordance with which they planted wheat and millet seeds, while there are also many folk tales and songs about stars. Ishigaki Island can be described as a treasure-trove of the history and culture of stars.
Star-related facilities are also located here, including the Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan-Vera Ishigaki Island Observatory Station. In recent years the island was selected as one of the “top three star-watching spots in Japan”. Travel to these islands and experience the beauty, wonder and emotional impact of these beautiful skies.
Airport: Ishigaki Airport
Stargazing Night Tour
Hours: 21:00 to 22:00
Admission: Single Course: Adult (age 13 & over) 3800 yen, elementary school (age 6-12) 2500 yen, Journey Course: Adult (age 13 & over) 5000yen, elementary school (age 6-12) 3000yen
Address: 147-18-303 Ishigaki, Ishigaki City, Okinawa Prefecture
Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory
Hours: 10:00 to 17:00
Address: 1024-1 Arakawa, Ishigaki City, Okinawa Prefecture
Close: Monday, Tuesday
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan-Vera Ishigaki Island Observatory
Station Hours: 10:00 to 17:00
Address: 2389-1 Takada, Tonoshiro, Ishigaki City, Okinawa Prefecture
Close: Year-end and New Year holidays
※The Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory is open on the weekend for visitors to view the night skies. Bookings are required. Contact the Observatory Station for details.