Gotohana Observatory – Kyushu’s Most Epic Sunset

Perched on a scenic cliff, the Gotohana Observatory offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the picturesque Okiakime Island, immersing you in a landscape where the beauty of nature meets cinematic history.

gotohana observatory

The Gotohana Observatory provides one of the most spectacular views in all of Kyushu. It is one of the best sunset spots in Kyushu and provides a view of Okiakime Island, which was made famous by the James Bond film You Only Live Twice.

Gotohana Observatory Details

Perched atop the cliffs, the Gotohana Observatory offers an unparalleled view of Okiakime Island. This island graced the silver screen in the 1967 James Bond classic “You Only Live Twice.”

On Okiakime Island the iconic James Bond, played by Sean Connery, ventured into the treacherous Ryuzaki, a poisonous cave shrouded in mystery and danger.

How to Get to the Gotohana Observatory

The Gotohana Observatory is in the Kagoshima Prefecture of Kyushu Island in Japan. It’s located along Highway 226, so it’s best visited as a stop along the southwestern coastline of the Satsuma Peninsula.

As with most places in Kyushu, the best way to get to the observatory is by renting a car.

Gotohana Observatory from Kagoshima: The closest city to the Gotohana Observatory is Kagoshima. The drive from Kagoshima is 58 km and takes 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Best Way to Rent a Car in Japan

When we rent a car in Japan, we personally recommend and ALWAYS use Klook. They offer both local and international rental cars, so you always get the best deal possible.

Gotohana Observatory Map Location

Best Time to Visit the Gotohana Observatory

Gotohana Observatory is a beautiful spot for sunset since you can watch the sun dip behind the horizon of the East China Sea.

Travel couple looking at Okiakime Island from Gotohana Observatory

The observatory is literally in the middle of nowhere so you’ll get stuck driving in the dark if you linger for too long. In most places, driving in the dark wouldn’t be a huge issue, but the highway skirts right along the coastline so it can be a little sketchy in some places. The closest town is Minamisatsuma and it’s 30 minutes away.

Our Experience at the Gotohana Observatory

We visited the Gotohana Observatory in the late afternoon during our camper van trip around Kyushu. It’s impossible to miss this spot since you’ll be drawn in by the view of Okiakime Island as you drive along the coastline.

Once we got a clear view of the island, we started looking for a place to pull over, and luckily the Gotohana Observatory was right there.

After parking at the observatory, we had the entire place to ourselves. To give you an idea of how many people drive along this road, there might have been 2 or 3 cars that drove by during the hour that we spent there.

As with most places in Japan, the observatory is clean and well-maintained, and there is a vending machine in the parking lot.

The observatory provides the best viewing angle for Okiakime Island so we spent a few moments snapping pictures from the parking level of the observatory.

View of Okiakime Island from Gotohana Observatory

We spotted a pathway that goes down the hillside toward the ocean so we decided to go check that out. There are a few spots to stop along the pathway to snap some photos and it looked like it went all the way down to the coastline but we didn’t walk that far.

It was getting close to sunset and we needed to find a place to sleep for the night. The thought crossed our mind that we should just sleep in our van right there at the observatory. It is an epic spot and it would have been nice to wake up there but we ultimately decided to keep driving since we planned to be in the Mount Aso area the next day.

Trey Lewis is an outdoor enthusiast. Whether its hiking knife-edge ridges or just fishing by the river, Trey isn't afraid to get dirty in search of the next adventure.

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