Before moving to Iriomote island, Okinawa, we had visited there about once a year and chosen the day of new moon. 🌛
Do you want to know why?
That is because Yaeyama islands including Iriomote island is one of the precious places where you can see lots of stars at night!! (≧▽≦)💕
Though I hate dark place, I do forget it being moved by the beauty of starry sky.
Let me introduce this wonderful night sky of Yaeyama islands.
Yaeyama is the first international Dark Sky Place in Japan!
Have you ever heard "International Dark Sky Places"?
The International Dark Sky Place is certificated by International Dark Sky Institutes, which are working world-wide on light pollution.
It is a program which applauses great approach on the protection of dark and beautiful sky without light pollution.
To be designated, it's needed to follow specific regulations such as rules of light outdoors and information campaign to local areas.📝
Yaeyama islands, such as Iriomote and Ishigaki island is designated as this International Dark Sky Park first in Japan, and the second in Asia!✨🌴(*´▽｀*)
Why can stars be seen a lot in Yaeyama?
You can see a lot of stars very clearly in Yaeyama islands. ✨
This is because population is smaller and there're less lights at night than in main island Japan.
And another reason is, the location of Yaeyama islands.
There blows western wind over Japan.This western wind is called "jet stream" because of its speed and it's strong wind makes stars sparkle.
On the other hand, the western wind is not so strong over Yaeyama islands.
So stars doesn't twinkle and you can see them very clearly.💡
Moreover, Yaeyama islands is the only place in Japan where you can see southern cross and all 21 stars of the first magnitude! So precious! (≧▽≦)💕
Not only because of population, but also because of location, Yaeyama is a great starry sky area.🌠
Very beautiful night sky of Iriomote!
Not only Taketomi town but also Ishigaki city is designated as International Dark Sky Park, but Ishigaki city is a big city now. 🏢
There stands many resort hotels along southern coast and 90% of people in Yaeyama islands lives in Ishigaki city.
The more buildings and people are, the blighter night becomes.
(Of course, big cities such as Tokyo and Osaka is much blighter though...)
Speaking of Iriomote island, it is about 290 square kilometers the second big island in Okinawa.90% of the area is subtropical jungle.🌴
About 2,000 Iriomote residents lives in the rest 10%.
Residence area is bright enough to walk back home, but not too much.(´∀｀)b
If you think it's dark at night, you can use light at the back of your cellphone so that it can show only around you.When you drive, your car lights the road.
So there's no problem if the number of our-door lights is not many.
Thanks to this darkness, you can see the moon and the brightness of stars clearly.✨
When we first stayed in Iriomote, we were moved by much more stars in the sky than we expected.
When we visited at full moon, we were astonished by the brightness of the moon, which made our shadow and hid stars.
Both experience is one of the reasons we love Iriomote. ☺💕
You can see milky way beautifully when it's nice weather in summer.
As we had seldom seen stars unless at planetarium in Osaka, we are impressed so much by this wonderful starry sky whenever we see it.
Where can we see many stars in Yaeyama?
Among the places we actually visited, here's some recommendations where we could see beautiful starry sky☆
★Ishigaki island：Ishigakijima Observatory
You need to go a bit far from downtown in order to see starry night sky.
Astronomical observation is held in Ishigakijima observatory on weekend.
It's very popular and hard to make a reservation.
If you want to go during summer high season, you'd better book it as early as possible.
To the observatory, you might feel scary through dark mountain road, but it's really moving to see night sky full of stars before eyes～☆
★Taketomi island：Outskirts of town
The place where we walked from our hotel we stayed before is about a few minutes walk from the town.
(Sorry, I'm not sure the specific address or name of the place...(^^;)💦）
When good weather, you'll see lots of stars and enjoy nostalgic view of historical red-brick houses in dark.
★Iriomote island：In front of Uminchu-no-Ie, on the hill of Sumiyoshi etc
Here in Iriomote island, there's not much tall building so you could see beautiful night sky wherever you're as long as it's not shaded by trees.✨
We often look up the sky around Uminchu-no-Ie in Shirahama where Akihiko works, as we can get almost 360° view there!
Because of the amazing sky full of stars, we forget time passes and get back home very late...☺ lol
Another recommendation is around Sumiyoshi area where our hotels had located before moving to Iriomote.
As there's less trees on the hill, it'd be easier to see many stars in the sky.
Oh, and there's a lookout in Sumiyoshi, too. I believe night view from there is also very beautiful.
There should be more places you can enjoy wonderful starry sky in Iriomote!
So, please come and look for those places by yourself! ( *´艸｀)
★Kuro Island, Kohama Island, Hatoma Island, Hateruma Island
Sorry, we haven't visited yet...
But I'm quite sure you can see beautiful night sky in any island! ( *´艸｀)
It's said that starry sky in Hateruma island is especially beautiful...
I wish I could make a trip there in near future~💕
Come to Yaeyama at New moon☆
As I said before, moon light is too bright when it's full moon.
It's very precious to experience the power of moon light!!
But as for me, as it'll be difficult to see stars at that time, I like new moon timing much more! 🌠
Come to Yaeyama islands at new moon so that you can see breathtaking starry sky!
Moon calendar is available at internet very easily so let's check it out!
Once arrived at Yaeyama islands, let's go out at night with insects repellent spray.
I do hope you can enjoy good weather and see thousands of stars!! ☆☆☆(≧▽≦)