Bisei Astronomical Observatory

The best stargazing in west Japan

By Judith Mikami    - 2 min read

Bisei Astronomical Observatory can be found at the top of the mountains that make up a key location in the town of Bisei. It is considered one of the best locations in West Japan for star gazing. Bisei town has a lot to offer for the visitor. You can make a weekend trip to this mountaintop location. During the daytime you can walk around the countryside visiting old temples, shrines and local farms where you will be sure to stir up interest as this is a place that has had few international visitors.

Bisei town also has a great farmers market where you can buy some locally produced food or crafts. These include Japanese noodles that have been fried to make chips, clear colored candy made from the purest water and sugar syrup (mizuami), milk, yoghurt and chicken, all things you should make an effort to eat while you are in Bisei. Izomei (traditional blue textile dying) is taught to visitors in the traditional village that has been recreated to show people how life was like a few hundred years ago. This village lets you experience the daily life of rural farmers. One large hut has a huge selection of old toys, musical instruments and crafts. A Japanese craft master is there most days to tell you about the history of these objects, teach you how to use them and even better show you how they are made.

After spending the day exploring this easy flowing countryside it’s time to visit the observatory. Depending on where you are staying and there are a few options, the observatory does have a bus service that can be arranged to pick you up. If pre-arranged you can ask the observatory staff for a tour and explanation of what stars you can view from this part of the hemisphere. The observatory also has a small exhibition space that shows you examples of space matter, tools for looking into space and a general history from around this area.

This high location with a good distance from any major city makes for an amazing experience for stargazing. Seeing the galaxy with the powerful telescopes will never get boring but you can also enjoy the night skies from any location in Bisei town.

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Judith Mikami

Judith Mikami @judith.mikami

Hi, I’m Judith Mikami originally from Auckland, New Zealand. I came to Japan about twenty years ago to experience a culture and country very different from my homeland. Like many who have ventured to Japan I fell in love with the people, culture and places and before I knew it I would meet my husband. I have lived only in Okayama Prefecture and call this area my home away from home.

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