One of the things we are proud of in Gunma is the beautiful starry sky. When the sky is clear, the stars shine like brilliant diamonds. The Gunma Astronomical Observatory, located in Takayama Village, is the best place to enjoy these stars to the fullest. Rare phenomena such as eclipses and meteor showers can be observed at this location. In December 2011, the total eclipse of moon and the Gemini meteor shower were observed.
The observatory is also open during the daytime. Visitors can tour inside the facility without a reservation. A reservation is recommended for large groups, however. During the tour, you will hear an explanation of the exhibitions and can ask the research staff questions about space. When the weather is clear, you can observe the stars with the 150 cm and the 65 cm reflecting telescopes under supervision of the researchers.
If you would like to join the weekend star-viewing parties, there is no need for you to make a reservation but if you come with several people, please let the staff know how many people you have in your party in advance. A reservation is required for group star-viewing parties on Wednesdays and Thursdays. If the weather is poor, you can either opt to the tour facility or cancel your visit. Please let the staff know of your choice when making a reservation. All the reflectors will be operated by the researchers during this time, but if you want to operate the reflector or take photos of the planets, please apply for "observation experience time", available on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays. Please ask the staff for more information. The researchers will determine which planets to observe during the "observation experience time".
Winter is the best season to observe the stars, and Takayama Village is pretty with snow. There are restaurants and hot spring spots you can visit after viewing stars.