There is a rocket launch from Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC) (originally scheduled for December 21 according to tweets from TNSC and Inmarsat Global). According to the websites of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the website of a town in Tanegashima, however, the launch day has been rescheduled to December 22, and the launch window is 23:33:52 - 01:33:26 Japan time. The timing specified matches that from Everyday Astronaut, but Everyday Astronaut still says December 21 for the day. TNSC has tweeted confirming the rescheduling.

I'll be staying in Kirishima, in Kagoshima prefecture on Kyushu island, during December 21 - 23. Tanegashima is an island off the coast of Kyushu. Travelling to Tanegashima itself is out of the question, as that will likely entail staying overnight there due to ferry timings.

Is there anywhere (open for access during the launch window) on the island of Kyushu itself from where I can watch the launch? I assume I won't be able to see much more than a shining beacon rising through the night sky, given the distances involved (70-100km, I think?).

I will be renting a car, so I don't need to rely on public transport.

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    If the launch window is 23:33:52 - 01:33:26 why can't you stay on Tanegashima overnight? JNTO writes You can see launches from numerous sites around Tanegashima. The Rocket Hill Observatory provides a good view of the Yoshinobu Launch Complex, but it is closed to the public during rocket launches. Public viewing points for rocket launches include Uchugaoka Park and Hase Park. During launch windows, a three-kilometer cordon is set up around the launch site, and visitors should not attempt to cross this. Dec 19, 2021 at 17:42
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    Given the mountains in the region where you are staying, I'd be looking for somewhere on the south coast of Kyushu that has an unobstructed view of Tanegashima. Which shouldn't be hard to do if you have a rental car.
    – Peter M
    Dec 19, 2021 at 17:44
  • @W because it adds a lot of complexity via ferry timings, additional hotel reservations, and restrictions in local areas (e.g. the town site that I linked to says that bookings for entering a park for viewing this closed weeks ago) that I'd rather not deal with it.
    – muru
    Dec 19, 2021 at 18:15
  • @Peter that's what I'm currently thinking - going to Kaimondake or Cape Satamisaki on the other side of the strait.
    – muru
    Dec 19, 2021 at 18:19
  • @muru hen your question is a bit confusing. There are plenty of public roads that meet your criteria, so what problem do you want to solve with "Is there anywhere (open for access during the launch window) ..."
    – Peter M
    Dec 19, 2021 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


I opted for Satamisaki (佐多岬, Cape Sata), the southernmost point of Kyushu. The observation deck (展望台) is ~73 km from the launch area as the crow flies. And it seems to be a fairly popular destination for watching launches, as there were plenty of other people there too - some with telescopes and other equipment.

According to Google Maps, the parking lot closes at 5 PM, but it turns out that the parking area is open and free for use throughout the day and only the information centre and other buildings are closed. The toilets also remain open. Unfortunately, it seems that the only vending machines in the area are inside the buildings and the nearest convenience stores are 20+ km away, so stock up on refreshments before coming.

Other possible locations:

  1. The parking lot itself. It has a fairly open view of the sea and Tanegashima island, and I think you can remain seated in your car and watch the launch. There were plenty of cars when I arrived there around 22:45, and a few more cars pulled in by the time I left for the observation deck around 23:00. According to the Satamisaki website, there's space for 40 cars.
  2. Tajiri beach. This was my backup plan. While driving to Satamisaki, I didn't see any cars there, but on the way back there were a couple of cars parked across the road from the beach. (I speculate that they might have been people who arrived too late at the Satamisaki parking lot.)
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    +1. Random factoid: Cape Sata is not just the southernmost point of Kyushu, but the southernmost point of mainland Japan (as in, reachable by land transport from Hokkaido). Dec 24, 2021 at 12:56
  • Also, how well did you see the launch from Cape Sata? Dec 24, 2021 at 12:57
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    It's the first one I've seen not on TV, so I don't have any reference for comparison. At lift off, there was an orange glow that covered about 20° of the horizon where Tanegashima was - I'd never seen anything like that before. I had a camera with a 55-300mm lens, and I could clearly make out the rocket as it went up the sky through the camera. Unfortunately, I was trying to do some astrophotography before the launch and I forgot to switch to settings more suitable for this, so all my photos came out overexposed. -_-'
    – muru
    Dec 24, 2021 at 16:21

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