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Yonaguni Island

This remote island—located 120 kilometers from Taiwan and 125 kilometers from Ishigaki—is the southernmost and westernmost inhabited point in Japan. Yonaguni Island is accessible by airplane and has become famous for great scuba diving, a strong local sochu drink and feral horses. The nearby island of Ishigakijima hosts an astronomical observatory with a 40-inch (1…read more »

This remote island—located 120 kilometers from Taiwan and 125 kilometers from Ishigaki—is the southernmost and westernmost inhabited point in Japan. Yonaguni Island is accessible by airplane and has become famous for great scuba diving, a strong local sochu drink and feral horses. The nearby island of Ishigakijima hosts an astronomical observatory with a 40-inch (1 m) telescope. The darkness of the night sky at Yonaguni ranges from level 3 to 2 in the Bortle scale, making them very suitable for stargazing.  The site has been described to EarthSky as follows: “This small Okinawa Island is a great place to look in all directions for a flat, dark horizon. Dark. Many open areas. Rocky points, hilltops, beaches, even country roads, all offer easy viewing any clear evening. Little or no traffic, too.”

Deborah Byrd