Located south of Kagoshima, Tanegashima is Japan's fifth largest remote island. The west coast facing the East China Sea presents white sandy beaches, while the east coast with its eroded odd-shaped rocks and the emerald green ocean form a perfect harmony. Located at the southeast end of the island is Japan's largest rocket launch site, the Tanegashima Space Center, with a total area of about 9.7 million square meters. Established in 1969 as a facility for launching artificial satellites, the site is called "the most beautiful rocket launch site in the world," reflecting the care that has been taken for environmental conservation to match the splendid southern island scenery.
The premises include large rocket launch pads and rocket assembly buildings, and satellite fairing assembly building, supporting an integrated chain of processes ranging from rocket assembly, maintenance, inspection, launch, and final check of satellites, to rocket loading and post-launch rocket tracking. The Space Science and Technology Museum located on the site introduces rockets and satellites, the international space station project, earth observation, astronomy and the planets, with full-size models and games covering the various fields of space development. It features also an acoustic launch experience corner where you can experience the power of a launch on a big screen.
On the day of a rocket launch, it is prohibited to enter the area within a 3 km radius from the Tanegashima Space Center and from the launch point, but it is possible to visit freely the island as long as one stays 3 km or more away from the Center. On launch days, many people gather at the Emi Koree Outlook Park, Uchugaoka Park, Minamitane-cho Track and Field Stadium, and Hase Park, from where they can hear the sound of the count-down. How about witnessing a launch and muse about yet unseen worlds while watching a rocket lift off into space enveloped by a roaring sound and flames?
Photo by JAXA
- Mazu, Kukinaga, Minamitane-cho, Kumage-gun, Kagoshima Prefecture 891-3793
- 9:30-17:00 (July & August: 9:30-17:30)
- Mondays (or Tuesday if Monday falls on a public holiday. In principle, the Center is open on Mondays during the month of August), New Year's holiday (December 29 to January 1)
* The center may also be occasionally closed depending on the circumstances
Information accurate as of January 13, 2017.