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Notice/Request concerning total solar eclipse over Tokara


The longest recorded total solar eclipse of this century will be observable from the Tokara Islands on July 22, 2009 for a duration of about 6 minutes. This event is attracting worldwide attention and we have received many questions concerning the observation of this total solar eclipse from the Tokara Islands.

However, the only transportation to the outlying islands that form Toshima Village is a village ferry that runs twice a week. Furthermore, there is a very limited number of lodging places (guest houses) and virtually no restaurants or other stores to provide food on most of the islands. Water and electricity supplies are only sufficient enough to meet the demands of local residents.

Toshima Village would very much like to give people a chance to observe the total solar eclipse but, due to the various factors noted above, it would be very difficult to have a large number of people visit the islands all at once.

For this reason, we have established the following basic policies in regards to the acceptance of total solar eclipse observers to Toshima Village and are now making the necessary preparations.

We would ask for your understanding and support in this matter.

(1) General Rules

1) Observing Social Etiquette

There are some 650 people living on 7 small islands. Any kind of disturbance arising from the large number of visitors that may cause complications for these local residents is to be strictly avoided.

2) Protecting the Environment

There remains much unspoiled nature on the islands. We consider this nature to be a treasure of Toshima Village that must be protected.

3) Ensuring the Safety of Visitors

It is assumed that most total solar eclipse observers will be visiting Toshima Village for the first time. We would like to ensure that all visitors have a safe stay during their time on the islands.

4) Basic necessities required for staying on the islands (tent, water, food, etc) are the sole responsibility of the visiting observer.

The costs required to provide visitors with basic necessities would be enormous. Therefore we ask that visitors bear the cost of all necessities.

(2) Number of Observers to Toshima Village

We are currently trying to assess the maximum possible number of observers by taking into consideration the transport capacity of the village ferry, among other things. It is very likely that only a limited number of observers from among the total number of hopeful applicants will be able to observe from Toshima Village. We ask for your understanding in this matter since all such initiatives must take into account the conditions stipulated by the village.

(3) Accepting Observers

In order to help accomplish the task of accepting observers, it was determined that the support of an experienced travel agency would be necessary. Subsequently, we concluded a consignment agreement with Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., Ltd. (KNT) after they won the privilege in a planning competition sponsored by Toshima Village.

We would ask that hopeful observers apply via the KNT travel agency. Their website can be found at the following address:

(4) Things to be Aware of

1) Influence of Typhoons

Typically, the end of July marks typhoon season and the end of the rainy season. Along with typhoons, surging waves and other related weather conditions occasionally make travel by ship impossible. Even were a ship to strike out, there is no guarantee that it would be able to berth. Please understand that boarding a ship during such weather will not necessarily guarantee you access to the islands.

2) Period of Stay

There is one village ferry and several other boats chartered by KNT that will provide transportation to the islands. The Toshima Ferry acts as the sole lifeline of the local residents so there will be provisional arrangements made so as to create a service schedule that does not interfere with the lives of local residents. Transport to and from Toshima Village is obviously very limited so please be prepared to stay as much as one whole week depending on the situation.

3) Necessities During Your Stay

Due to the limited number of guest houses, most visitors will need to use tents and temporary toilets. The Islands belong to the volcanic zone and experience 30° plus heat in the last part of July. We plan to set up temporary showers, but be warned that there is not an abundance of water and you may be subjected to severe heat during your stay.

Please take care to avoid the poisonous “Habu” snakes (pit vipers) that inhabit a portion of the islands.

4) Garbage

As a general rule, we would ask that visitors carry their garbage home with them since garbage disposal facilities on the islands are very limited. If possible, try to avoid bringing items that will end up becoming garbage.

5) Water

There is only enough running water to cover the consumption needs of the local residents. We will make the necessary preparations to provide bottled water and ensure water for the temporary showers, but please expect usage to be limited. We are also considering limiting the usage of soap in order to protect the environment.

6) Food

We are considering entrusting the provision of meals to non-local vendors due to the scarcity of restaurants and vendors of pre-cooked food on the islands to be prepared at local facilities. Taking into account the constraints of cost, transport, and volume, pre-cooked packaged foods will be the standard.

7) Entry to the Islands

Placing responsibility of the individual at the core of our policy, we will make the necessary preparations in order to accommodate and sustain up to, but not beyond, the allowed maximum possible number of observers to the islands. Exceeding the allowed number will cause serious complications.

If you wish to observe the total solar eclipse from Toshima Village, please apply via the KNT travel agency. Please refrain from visiting the island using other methods (private boat, etc.)

We ask for your understanding in this matter in order to ensure the safety of visitors and in order to protect the environment of the local residents.

8) Medical Care

There is no well-equipped hospital on the islands. However, there are countryside infirmaries normally staffed by a single nurse. We do plan to arrange for the services of a doctor during the total solar eclipse observation period, but visitors should take care to avoid getting heat stroke during their stay on the islands. Please take all the necessary health precautions.

9) Other

All other relevant information will be provided during the application period.

(5) For any inquires, please contact the following

Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., Ltd. Global Business Management Branch

Solar Eclipse Tour e-mail :

Official Site of Toshima Village