Beginning of Winter at Kanayama Megaliths


There are several new posts at our Japanese counterpart of the the Kanayama Megaliths blog. On 10/23, sixty days before winter solstice, a group trekked up Higashinoyama to see the sunrise. Above is the photo, and this is the 9-meter long stone on which the observer sits.


The group came down the mountain and went to Iwaya-Iwakage. Here is the sunlight entering the chamber at 12:50pm.


On 10/24, this striking pattern appeared on the Sekimen-ishi.


We remind you of the similarity of the Kanayama calendar with the Egyptian calendar. On this date, the rising sun shines into the stone room at the end of the Great Temple of Abu Simbel. Also, the sun rises from the Sphinx on the causeway to the great pyramid of Khafre.

We hope that you have enjoyed these reports of the solar calendar of the Kanayama Megaliths, still operating after 5,000 years!










Iwaya-Iwakage: Sixty Days Before Winter Solstice 2018

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Sunlight entering Iwaya-Iwakage on 2018.10.23 at 13:00


The sixty days before winter solstice, observed at Higashinoyama in early morning, was confirmed in Iwaya-Iwakage at around 1pm on October 23, 2018. There were clouds in the sky around that time, and cheers broke out whenever the spotlight on Sekimen-ishi stone appeared. Here are photos of the large spotlight at various times when it appeared (12:56, 13:05, and 13:09). Since we are facing north, to us the spotlight appears to move from west to east. The last photo shows the light has reached the right-hand edge of the Sekimen. Branches of trees have cast some shadows on the stone.

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Higashinoyama: Sixty Days Before Winter Solstice 2018

2018.10.23 Higashinoyama sunrise

This sunrise photo was taken by Chika-san the morning of 2018.10.23 at 09:44:25 on Higashinoyama. On the right of the sun is S Stone, on the left is the 9-m long R stone which points in the sunrise direction.

This observation heralds the approach of the winter solstice sixty days hence. The sun will occupy the same position on February 20 as it heads north for the summer. These two dates, 10/23 and 2/20 which bound winter, together with the two summer dates of 4/22 and 8/20, divide the sun’s zone in the sky into four equal parts.

yontobun blue

Furthermore, when the winter and summer solstice dates are included, we obtain the six-season Kanayama Solar Calendar.

Six-season chart





Okuhida Sake Fall 2018


Okuhida Sake Brewery in Kanayama is all set for autumn with two seasonal sakes, Aki Nigori and Aki Agari. And it is gearing up for the winter sake production, waiting for the newly harvested rice.

There are some wonderful finds that are ready to enjoy. One is the sparkling Hatsumidori sake that is made like champagne — and whose quality compares favorably with champagne. It is made from 100% Hida Hotaru rice.

On the left below is one of our favorites, the unpasteurized nama sake in the 300ml bottle. On the right is the Aki Nigori Sake, decked out in autumn maple leaves.

Nama Okuhida      IMG_3388

When you’re in Hida, do come and get your Okuhida premium sake. So many to choose from, and all of highest quality and taste.






Thirty Days After Summer Solstice


At Senkoku-ishi, the dashed spotlight tells us in a dramatic light-show when it is thirty days before and after the summer solstice. The Kanayama Megaliths Japanese blogsite has posted photos from this year’s July dashed spotlight observations. There were torrential rains in Western Japan in preceding days, followed by 39 C = 103 F high temperatures. Yet, many people came who had seen the NHK special on the Kanayama Megaliths just a couple of days prior.


The dashed spotlight could be seen for five days, growing stronger, then thinner. Even on the final day, we could see four dashes.


For other photos and the report in Japanese, please click on the above underlined link. As Shiho Tokuda reminds us in this translation from her blog:

“Because the year is not exactly 365 days, the appearance of light slightly changes even for observations on the same day every year. It is repeated approximately every four years. Although it is related to the leap year, it is difficult to determine a leap year by this observation because the movement of the sun every day as seen from the earth is small. ”

For a more accurate method for leap-year determination (in October 2019, for instance), the Kanayama Megaliths has the leap-year observation in Iwaya-Iwakage.



Summer Solstice 2018

June212018by KS

Kazuo Sugisaka made this report on this year’s summer solstice at Kanayama Megaliths. He arrived there a day early, June 20, and it was rainy all day. The next day, summer solstice day, it was cloudy during the morning and it seemed doubtful that the sun would come out. Fortunately, it turned sunny during the afternoon, and by sunset the sun could be seen sinking between two megaliths at Senkoku-ishi site. Summer solstice is a marker date on the Kanayama Solar Calendar. It marks the beginning of the 60-day late summer period.

Last year, we noticed a rather unusual flower blooming amongst the megaliths. This year, Sugisaka-san took this photo. It was identified as Cyrtosia septentrionalis, called tuchiakebi in Japanese. It is a member of the Orchidaceae family.

cyrtosia orchid by KS




Jomon North Star in Summer


June 9, 2018 8:55 pm

What is the difference between the illustration on the left and that on the right? They both show the Big Dipper revolving around the North Pole as seen from Stone J at the Kanayama Megaliths.

The answer is:  the left illustrates the revolution of the Big Dipper in modern times; the right is how it looked to the Jomonese 5,000 years ago when the Kanayama Megaliths were young. The Big Dipper is now further away from the North Pole than it was during Jomon times.

This is part of the post, . This summer, from around 8 pm, we can see the North Pole star from J-stone at Kanayama Megaliths.


The current North Star is the Polaris star which is the alpha star in Ursa Minor. Stars around it rotate around this star. The photo above shows the stars visible to the naked eye. It is rather faint to see due in part to noise suppression in the digital camera. This was taken from our research center tonight. Big Dipper is in the upper left. The two stars in the bowl point to the North Star. Near the bottom right is the North Star.  In the northern sky, the stars rotate around this North Star. The Big Dipper also rotates a lot in the sky.


Above is the same image with constellation lines drawn in to help your visualization. The arc is part of the circle of the precessional path. Note how close the Big Dipper is to Thuban, the Pole Star of the Jomon.

Upper left:  Big Dipper in Ursa Major.   Center red arrow:  Thuban in Draco.   Purple:  Polaris in Ursa Minor

The Pole Star now is Polaris, one of the stars of Ursa Minor. During the Jomon period, the Pole Star was Thuban, Alpha Draconis. The reason for the change: precession.  In the image below, Kochab has been added in yellow. Kochab is the brightest star in bowl of Little Dipper, slighter fainter than Polaris.


Compare the rotation of the Big Dipper centered on the current Polaris star, and the rotation centered on pole star Thuban around 2500 BCE. Thuban, the pole star of the past, was much closer to the Big Dipper compared to the present, and the range of rotation is narrow.