This Japanese Village Is the Best Place for Stargazing

It's so dark, the stars can't help but shine.

Tenku no Rakuen Winter Night Tour 2017 -STARS by NAKED-
3731-4 Chisato, Achimura, Shimoinna, Nagano Prefecture
Open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. until the end of March
Contact: +81-265-44-2311
Admission Fee: ¥2,200 for adults, ¥1,000 for elementary and middle-school students, no admission fee for pre-school children

In Nagano, Japan, there is a village where the stars are said to shine the brightest. In fact, no less than the Japanese Ministry of Environment considers it as "the best place to see stars." With a population of around 6,500 people, the village of ACHI is known as the darkest place in Japan. 

Luckily, visitors won't be left in the dark. With the launch of Paradise in the Sky: The Best Starry Sky in Japan, you can now take a gondola car ride and marvel at the stars at 1,400m high during the summer. It's no surprise that the number of visitors go up from around 2,000 in one night and as high as 150,000 during the peak season. The numbers increase year by year because people just can't get over seeing so many stars that seem almost close enough to touch. 

The village has also started Paradise in the Sky: Winter Night Tour, so you can enjoy ACHI's beautiful sky during the colder months, too. Recently, this tour went through several changes to involve digital art group Naked, Inc. 

Paradise in the Sky: Winter Night Tour 2017 -STARS by NAKED features a futuristic amusement park, a model of a space colony.

"We discussed together how we could show the real beauty of ACHI's starry sky, then came up to make an amusement park where you feel as if you were in a galaxy," explained Ryotaro Muramatsu, a famous art director in the industry, and the person responsible for putting the village in the spotlight.

One of the highlights of the park is a space cocoon with a special AI in the center of the hall. There is also a short show that features the beautiful voice of Jurina Matsui from famous girl group SKE48 right before the stars are revealed.

This is a photo taken with only 30 percent visibility. Imagine what it would like if the sky were clearer. 

In addition to the shows, you can also have some fun with the ASTRONOMICAL TELESCOPE as well as MEGASTAR, a planetarium that lets you be surrounded by a starry sky 360 degrees. If you're feeling cold, there is also ASHIYU, a foot hot spring in the area, where you can keep yourself warm.

Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (10 December 2017)

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