This picture is of one of my medium-sized telescopes at Oeyama, a beautiful mountain hill station in Northern Kyoto Prefecture near Miyazu. While the elevation is only about 750m, a natural volcano bowl interior has created a unique dark sky opportunity in Kansai. Blocking out the bright-light horizon for about 270 degrees of azimuth makes this the most desirable astronomy site within two hours drive of Osaka. Also available at this pristine hill station is a lodge where sports teams can come to hang out and practise for up to a week, camping facilities for families and countless walking trails frequented by deer and wild pigs as well.
Coping with the extreme heat and humidity this summer has been a challenge, but the harsh weather has also been responsible for less than ideal atmospheric conditions for astronomy. Well, this has finally changed! September has been absolutely wonderful and many star parties which were originally scheduled for August are now taking place at last. Sept 8, 9 and 10 at Onoyama, Sept 19 and 20 at Rurikei and the next one for Oeyama has yet to be decided but will take place some time in the first half of October.
If anyone is interested in locating these three places, attending a star party either organized directly by me or by one of the Osaka, Kyoto or Hyogo prefectural astronomy club outings, camping and hiking info or simply driving instructions, feel free to contact me by entering a comment below and I will respond as quickly as possible. Rurikei in Kyoto is 45 kms from JR Osaka Stn, Onoyama is 20kms north of Hankyu Kawanishi Stn on Route 12, and Oeyama is 114 kms from Hankyu Takarazuka Stn up Route 176 or from Kawanishi Stn up Route 173 over Ayabe.
Have a look at the astronomy and science course English lessons at my Smith’s School of English in Kotoen!
Another approach to this might be to first visit Onoyama in Hyogo Prefecture, just north of Kawanishi and visit the astronomical observatory built there for public research purposes. The facility houses a 50cm Classical Cassegraine telescope constructed by the famous Nishimura Brothers in Kyoto and is open the public Wed Thurs Friday nights from 6:30 to 9:30. Don’t go up on a cloudy night!
Martin Werner Zander, Partner in the Smith’s School of English Corporation
Owner of the Smith’s School of English in Kotoen