Nori Akashi, Public Relations Manager
Japan National Tourist Organization
One Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 1250, New York, NY 10020
Tel: 212.757.5641, Ex. 19
New York, New York – April 21, 2009 Japan will celebrate a spectacular show in the sky this summer. On July 22, southern Japan will witness the longest total solar eclipse of this century, lasting over 6 minutes long! Although the entire country is within the eclipse observation area, the total eclipse can be viewed only on the group of small islands off Kyushu Island in southern Japan.
A total solar eclipse is a spectacular natural phenomenon and many people travel a great distance to observe one. Tokara Village will be the best location to view this total solar eclipse on July 22. Tokara Village has a population of 650 people on twelve islands 127 miles off Kagoshima on the southern tip of Kyushu Island and is located where the total solar eclipse will continue for the longest period of time (6 minutes 42 seconds).
The islands are limiting visitors to protect local life and indigenous nature and participation in a special tour is required. These tours are organized and operated by Kintetsu International (KNT), one of the largest travel agencies in Japan, and they accept applications online to visit Tokara village during the eclipse. The application period will be closed as soon as they reach the maximum capacity for this tiny village, so apply soon. To visit any islands of Tokara Village, contact KNT www.knt.co.jp/eclipse/index_e.html and apply for the eclipse tours. (KNT also accepts applications from media as long as there is space on the tours.)
Tokara village has unique local culture born between traditional Okinawa and Japanese traditions. This timeless island village is rich in festivals, traditional arts and nature-oriented lifestyle, and attracts visitors looking for a relaxed-pace lifestyle to experience heart-warming hospitality.
Nearby islands to Tokara Village also act as great observation locations: Yakushima Island is a World Natural Heritage Site for its rich untouched vegetation, hundreds of unchanged species and deep centuries-old forests. Amami-Oshima Island is also within the observation area.
For more information about Tokara Village access and the total solar eclipse, go to :