The town of Rikubetsu is located in the eastern part of Hokkaido. This town of about 2,500 inhabitants is known as "the coldest town in Japan," with temperatures sometimes reaching below minus 30 degrees Celsius. Famous for its clear air and beautiful starry sky, the town also offers views of the aurora. The Ministry of the Environment selected Rikubetsu as a "Starry Sky City" in 1987, and certificated it as "Friendly Starry Sky Town 10 Election" in 1997.
Under the sparkling star-filled sky, the Galaxy Forest Observatory was born. This observatory, which was built so that everyone can observe the beautiful starry sky, is equipped with a 115 cm reflecting telescope, Japan's largest for an observatory open to the public. Because this large telescope can move at high speed, it is capable of tracking artificial satellites as they move through the sky, and it allows the observation of various planets, nebulae and far away star clusters at their best viewing time, and on clear days, even stars in the daytime.
A planetarium show in an inflatable air dome is held on the first floor exhibition room. The second floor is a rooftop terrace where visitors can enjoy the starry sky, and during meteor observation events, you can watch meteors stream through the starry sky as far as the eye can see while lying down on the provided tatami mats or seating. During Tanabata and Christmas, a romantic event is held in which the roof lights are replaced with candles and participants watch the starry sky. The brightness of stars that can never be seen in the city will continue to glow in your hearts forever.
- Uenbetsu, Ashoro-gun, Rikubetsu-cho, Hokkaido 089-4300
- April to September: 14:00 to 22:30 / October to March: 13:00 to 21:30
- Mondays, Tuesdays (May 3-5, August 14-16: open even on Monday and Tuesday), Monday of the 3rd Monday of May to Friday of the 4th week of May, December 30 to January 5
- Daytime Adult 300 yen, Elementary and middle school students 200 yen / Nighttime Adult 500 yen, Elementary and middle school students 300 yen
Information accurate as of January 13, 2017.