The Most Beautiful Starry Sky in japan
Achi-mura, a picturesque village located in southwestern Nagano Prefecture, is renowned for its awe-inspiring views of the starry sky. Nestled in the Japanese Alps, this charming mountain town offers not only a chance to witness the mesmerizing beauty of the night sky but also a plethora of natural wonders, soothing hot springs, and vibrant seasonal displays of Hanamomo (peach blossoms).
With a population of just 6,500 inhabitants, Achi-mura attracts approximately 1,300,000 tourists each year. Its remote location ensures lower levels of air and light pollution compared to urban areas, making it an ideal destination for stargazing. In fact, Japan’s Ministry of the Environment has recognized Achi-mura as the best place in the country to enjoy this celestial spectacle.
During the day, Achi-mura offers a range of activities for nature lovers. The village is a haven for camping and hiking enthusiasts, with numerous trails and camping sites to explore. Ropeways provide access to breathtaking peak experiences, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the stunning beauty of the surrounding mountains. The village is also known for its seasonal displays of Japanese azaleas and Hanamomo, which attract both photographers and nature enthusiasts alike. Whether it’s day or night, Achi-mura promises something special for every visitor.
One of the highlights of Achi-mura is its guided stargazing tours. The village boasts an excellent stargazing facility located at Heaven Sonohara ski resort on top of Fujimidai Heights. Visitors can enjoy stargazing while riding gondolas on a 2,500-meter-long ropeway to the 1,400-meter peak. Star Village Achi, located at the resort, offers a café and telescopes for visitors to observe stars and constellations in a pitch-black environment. The village hosts various guided stargazing tours, and visitors can check the schedule and book tickets on the Star Village Achi website. Some local hotels and inns also offer special accommodation packages that include stargazing tours and shuttle services to the facility.
Namiai Park, another stargazing facility located at an elevation of 1,200 meters, offers stargazing parties and a chance to witness the wonders of the night sky in a serene mountain setting. When preparing for a stargazing experience, it is important to dress appropriately for the chilly temperatures, even during the summer months. Bringing a blanket to keep warm while lying on the ground and a small flashlight to navigate the area are also recommended.
While stargazing is the main attraction at night, Achi-mura and its surroundings offer a wealth of activities during the day. The Jibuzaka Highland is renowned for its beautiful flora, with a wide variety of flowers in full bloom from spring to fall. The Japanese azaleas, in particular, emit a delightful fragrance that envelops the area during springtime. The Hanamomo Festival, held from end-April to early-May, showcases approximately 10,000 peach blossoms in vibrant shades of red, white, and pink, creating a breathtaking spectacle along the Hanamomo Kaido Road.
For panoramic views of the Southern Alps, visitors can take the Fujimidai Kogen Ropeway to Heavens Sonohara. The gondolas travel to an elevation of 1,400 meters, offering magnificent vistas of the surrounding mountains. The mountaintop station is paved, providing an easy and leisurely stroll for visitors. Skunk cabbages in full bloom can be seen in early summer, while a tour in the early morning during autumn offers a chance to witness a sea of clouds. In winter, the area becomes a haven for downhill skiers, snowboarders, and those looking to enjoy sledding and snowshoeing.
For a truly unforgettable sightseeing experience, the Central Alps Komagatake Ropeway offers breathtaking views of the Senjojiki Cirque. This area, where glaciers carved steep slopes approximately 20,000 years ago, is now adorned with beautiful meadows and alpine wildflowers in the spring. The ropeway boasts the largest elevation gain in Japan, reaching 950 meters, and the highest terminal station at 2,612 meters. On clear days, visitors can even catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji from the peak.
No trip to Achi-mura is complete without savoring its local specialties and enjoying a soak in one of its hot spring resorts. The morning farmers’ market is a popular destination for sourcing locally grown products, offering a wide range of fruits, mushrooms, dried persimmons, and homemade jams. Soba, a famous delicacy in Nagano Prefecture, is a must-try, and visitors have the opportunity to learn how to make soba noodles before indulging in a delicious meal at a local restaurant.
Hot springs, known as onsen, have long been treasured by the Japanese for their therapeutic benefits. Achi-mura is home to several onsen resorts and thermal spas, where visitors can relax and rejuvenate their bodies and souls. The mineral-rich waters of these hot springs soothe and stimulate, relieving sore muscles and restoring energy. After a day of sightseeing, a soak in one of these rejuvenating hot springs is the perfect way to unwind before heading out for a night of stargazing.
In conclusion, Achi-mura offers a truly enchanting experience for those seeking the most beautiful starry sky in Japan. With its pristine mountain views, soothing hot springs, and vibrant seasonal displays, this charming village captivates the hearts of visitors from all over the world. Whether it’s immersing oneself in the wonders of the night sky or exploring the natural beauty of the surrounding area, Achi-mura promises an unforgettable journey that will leave a lasting impression. So come and discover the magic of Achi-mura, where the stars shine brighter than anywhere else in Japan.
Address And Maps Location:
Achi-mura, Shimoina-gun, Nagano-ken