Bisei Town is an administrative district of Ibara with a long history and many achievements in light pollution prevention, including enacting Japan's first Light Pollution Prevention Ordinance in 1989. The name Bisei — which translates to "town of beautiful stars" — comes from the first letters of the names of two rivers that run through the town, the Miyama and the Hoshida. There is a legend that three shooting stars fell in the town a long time ago, and shrines were built at each of those sites to worship the stars.
Get in edit
The main train line is the Ibara Railway. The main station is Ibara Station, but there there are three other stations in the city: So-Unnosato Ebara Station, Izue Station, and Komoriutanosato Takaya Station. From Okayama, the Ibara Line connects to the JR Hakubi Line at Soja Station in Soja and Kiyone Station in Kurashiki. In the opposite direction, if you're coming from Hiroshima, transfer at Fukuyama Station (Fukuyama) to the Fukuen Line to reach Kannabe Station where you can transfer to Ibara Line. Ibara Railway is a private railway, so those using the Japan Rail Pass need to pay the train fare.
Get around edit
- 1 Denchu Art Museum (田中美術館), 315 Ibara, ☏ . 09:00-17:00. A museum featuring the works of Hirakushi Denchu, a renowned wood sculptor who was born here in Ibara. Regular admission ¥400, more for special exhibitions.
- 2 Narutaki Gorge (鳴滝峡), Yoshiicho Hanadaki. A popular walking/hiking area with ten small but attractive waterfalls along the course.
- 3 Bisei Astronomical Observatory (美星天文台). Friday-Monday daytime 13:45-16:00, nighttime 18:00-22:00. The Bisei area has been known as a great place for stargazing since it was founded, so it's fitting that they chose to built an observatory here. The observatory has exhibits and a museum inside, but the highlight is the 101-cm telescope. While the nighttime hours are the obvious recommended time to come to see the stars, visitors can also locate daytime stars when visiting during the daytime hours. At night, there is also an open-air deck outside where you can view the stars, find constellations, etc. ¥200.
- 1 Chusei Yumegahara (中世夢が原), 5007 Biseicho Miyama, ☏ . 09:30-16:00. Remains of ancient civilizations have been found around Ibara, so this is a reconstructed village from the Middle Ages (chusei). Visitors can stroll about the town to feel what it was like in the past. The village features old houses, farmhouses, and samurai residences among other buildings. There are activities that visitors can participate in, as well as events throughout the year. The area has been used as a film set location for films such as Tatara Samurai. Mar-Nov ¥500, Dec-Feb ¥300.