The stars falling from the sky are the greatest reward! Kozushima itself is a planetarium.
Looking up at the sky, you find a star and your heart begins to beat faster…have you ever felt that way? How about a trip to Kozushima, where you can forget your busy days and be entranced by a sky full of beautiful stars?
(Photo: Kozu island tourist association)
About 180km south of Tokyo, Kozushima is one of the islands comprising the Izu Islands. It is about 40 minutes by plane from Chofu Airport. The green of the mountains, centering around Mount Tenjo (Tenjozan), the blue ocean, the simple life of the islanders: it is a peaceful island.
Mount Tenjo (Photo: Kozu island tourist association)
Akasaki Promenade (Photo: Kozu island tourist association)
Kozushima received an international certification as a “starry sky sanctuary” in 2020. Because there is no excessive amount of light from any villages nearby, it is possible to see a pure starry sky at night. From each part of the island, it is possible to see the Summer Triangle and the Winter Triangle, as well as a crystal-clear Milky Way in the summer and the Orion Constellation in the winter.
The summer Milky Way as seen from the observation deck at Miuara Bay (Photo: Tomohisa Fujii)
While there are several spots from which to stargaze, our recommended spot is called “Yotane Square.” It is about 15 minutes on foot from any of the lodgings on the island, but because the sky is wide open it is possible to see the largest expanse of stars and constellations. It is easy to get to by walking and there are toilets and even vending machines nearby. There are also benches on the esplanade, so it’s possible to relax while looking at the night sky. (When going stargazing, please prepare insecticide in the summer and protective, warm apparel in the winter.)
The Summer Triangle as seen from Yotane Square (Photo: Tomohisa Fujii)
The Winter Triangle as seen from Yotane Square (Photo: Tomohisa Fujii)
If you really want to appreciate the starry sky, you might well ask an expert Star Guide! This guide being an island local person shows no pretensions about his knowledge, which is refreshing.
Star Guide Fujii Tomohisa-san’s recommendation:
Kozushima is an island where the Milky Way can be seen year-round; it is a place where beautiful stars can be seen. My number one recommendation is a star called “Canopus.” It is the second brightest star in the sky, but is so difficult to see in the northern hemisphere that in China it is traditionally referred to as the “Star of Long Life and Happiness” or the “Star of the South Pole Elderly.” Because it is so rare, it was believed that finding it would lead to a long and prosperous life. In Kozushima it is easiest to see this star between January and March, where one can see the southern horizon to the very edge. Different stars can be seen depending on the season, but my personal recommendation is the Fall. The sky is usually clear and there are many meteor showers during this period so it is possible to see many shooting stars. Please come and see all the beautiful stars sometime!
The Winter Triangle. The orange star close to the horizon below the Orion Constellation is Canopus.
Ocean and mountain activities, onsen hot springs, fresh island foods, all of these will reset your body and take away your tiredness or stress. The endless starry sky will also open your heart. The top-class starry sky this island has to offer can rival any fancy clothes or tasty sweets out there, as a natural treat!
To learn about Kozushima’s starry sky:
*The information herein is as of April 2021.
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▼ Islands of Tokyo Oshima, Niijima, Kozushima