Monthly Archives: December 2016

Green 杉玉 sugi-tama



Have you ever seen a fresh, green sugi-tama newly raised outside a sake brewery?  If you visit the blogsite of Okuhida Sake Brewery,, you will see this photo. Better yet, go to Hida Kanayama and visit the Okuhida Brewery.

杉玉 sugi-tama is a 玉 tama, ball made of 杉sugi, Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica). It is a sign that new sake has been created. The 杉玉 was raised at 10 am on December 2 with a sake-tasting event. Congratulations for another good year of premium sake!

Our previous posts about Okuhida Sake include:

Since many of us have never seen the sugi which rarely grows outside of Japan, here is a photo taken in Iwaya Valley near the  Kanayama Megaliths.





2016 Winter Solstice Observations.    3. Iwaya-Iwakage and Senkoku-ishi


Ed. Note:  This is the concluding section of our three-part report on winter solstice observations, 2016.

Winter Solstice 2016.12.21    

Iwaya-Iwakage.  10:25 am.  We have just returned from the climb up Higashinoyama. The light of the sun rising from the mountain is beginning to strike the Iwaya-Iwakage megaliths while the lower foreground is still in deep shadow. The sun rises from the mountain at 10:15, and it was ten minutes later. This spectacle is superbly calculated. The location is well-suited for receiving the light of winter. Shapes that illuminate the megalithic group are made from the time the sun rises from the mountain until it sinks. It’s hard to believe, but it is happening here.

24-951a2160Inside Iwaya-Iwakage, light is entering into the chamber. From inside at the back of the inclined surface, looking at the sky in the south, you can see that the sun is entering below this inclined surface. This tilt is set in accordance with the sun’s position 60 days before the winter solstice, so that it is very bright inside.

Senkoku-ishi   Evening, around 4 o’clock at Senkoku-ishi.   Sunset light has hit the B and B’ boulders. Originally the one stone was broken and is now sitting in two parts called B and  B’. The part of the V where the light hits  may mean that the original stone was placed  there to capture light of the sun at the time of winter solstice.

Approximately 4:10 pm.   The sun will soon hide in the mountains. It is possible to watch it from the mountain, up to near the time (4:30) when the sun sets to the horizon, because of the position of the megalith group in the mountain valley. This is also the place where, in the opposite direction, the summer solstice  sun will rise. I think it can be said that the place has been carefully selected for the megalithic group!

Ed. Note:  This ends our three-part report on Winter Solstice 2016. A new year begins. Happy New Year to all our readers!


2016 Winter Solstice Observations.   2. Solar Calendar Simulator

Ed. Note:  In our earlier post we described the Solar Calendar Simulator at the time of the October 23, 2016 observation sixty days before the winter solstice in Iwaya-Iwakage. Here, we present the accurately simulated solar direction on winter solstice day after we returned from observing the sun from Higashinoyama.

Winter Solstice 2016.12.21   再現館 Seigenkan Simulator Building.  In the early afternoon, we rested for a while at the Solar Calendar Simulator.


3419349dThe sunbeam is now hitting the center of the target board at the lowest part of it. It is 13:08; it is still a little early for the simulation. This simulator also reproduces the light of winter solstice at Iwakage 60 days prior to the solstice.

13:26  Perfect! The sunlight shines in exactly at the orientation SW 24°33’ on the face of the board that simulates Iwaya-Iwakage. (It is azimuth 204 deg 33 min in the southwest direction, as we know from astronomical software.) The simulation is exactly right!


This device was made in modern times and corresponds accurately to the movement of sunlight. The light will hit the same place tomorrow and the day after because it is around the winter solstice when the sun’s path does not change much from day to day.

If this were a spring equinox day, you would see the light moving rapidly 1 to 2 cm per day toward the front. Do you know why? If you understand this, you can see why it can be applied to leap year observations!

The simulator hall shows the foundation of archaeological astronomy in an easy-to-understand manner. For modern astronomy, this is a blind-spot.

Next:  Part 3. Iwaya-Iwakage and Senkoku-Ishi


2016 Winter Solstice Observations. 1. Higashinoyama

Ed. Note:  We are happy to share with you our English-language interpretation, in three parts, of the Japanese blog posted by the Kanayama Megaliths Research Center at Our own earlier post on the climb up Higashinoyama on 10/22/16, 60 days before the winter solstice, was reported here, So this is the second report on this winter season at Higashinoyama. Parts 2 and 3 of this series are about the Solar Calendar Simulator, Iwaya-Iwakage, and Senkoku-Ishi. Enjoy this adventure at the Kanayama Megaliths!

2016年12月21日 冬至   Winter Solstice 2016.12.21

7:00 am.  Starting from the Iwaya Number Two Dam in deep fog. Clearing good weather is predicted! As we approach the megaliths, … there’s no fog!  

7:30 am.   Climbing to Higashinoyama Megaliths. There are 7 cars. Kobayashi-san is leading the departure.  There are eight people in this year’s winter solstice mountain observation group. They are all repeaters except for three people. We are departing from the lower  two megalithic sites (Iwaya-Iwakage and Senkoku-ishi). 

That peak in the photo is the mountain with the megaliths, Higashinoyama, that we are going to climb.

This year our climbing is without snow. Although it is said to be warmer than usual on this day, in the shade of the climb our breaths are white and frost is on the leaves at our feet. 5-5b6c6201

We enter the old path and it is pretty dangerous here. Even after the most dangerous part, it is hard to keep our balance. We are required to use our walking sticks.


Arrived at the Higashinoyama megalithic site in 50 minutes after departing as scheduled. Fast people can make it in 30 to 40 minutes.

8-4788c659This long megalith is the stone for observing the morning sun of the winter solstice.

The observation post of the stone is a right angle space. Sit here and look along the 9 meter stone. People with long legs seem to fit well when sitting like this. 

10-8296debdYes, this is line of sight to the rising sun. The trees are bushy, and the the sun shines brightly, though not clearly, through gaps in the foliage.

14-bdfcaa72Although it can be observed with the eyes, in the photograph, the light source is narrow and it is difficult to catch the shining light.

It takes us 40 minutes to descend from the mountain.

When we returned to the megalithic group below, light was shining on Higashinoyama. Senkoku-ishi, however, was still in shadow. 

Next:  Part 2. Solar Calendar Simulator


Early December at Kanayama Megaliths


We have translated the brand-new post of December 06, 2016 at

金山巨石群 12月初め  Kanayama Megaliths Early December

12月 2日(金)   December 2 (Friday)

Fine weather today. Visitors in the morning and afternoon.


The 10 o’clock tour is recommended when visiting Kanayama Megaliths in winter because the morning sun emerges from the mountain around 10 am. The cooling of the previous night still continues into the morning.


From the lower megalith site (Iwaya-Iwakage and Senkoku-Ishi) we can see the sun  shining on Higashinoyama Eastern Mountain at around 9:15 in the morning.


Here at the lower megalith site, it is still cold. However light is beginning to hit the mountain in the back of the lower site.

On this day there were four people in the group from 9:50 to 12:30. Winter showtime at Iwaya-Iwakage: about 10 o’clock, the morning sun gradually enters inside. A movie would allow you to visualize the impression. A mysterious feeling seems to drift in the air like when you’re in a snow scene.

昼 Noon 


This is a picture taken at 11 o’clock in the morning on 29 November. The winter sun rising from the mountain is in a low position.   

In winter, sunlight from the south streams in so as to fill the center of Iwaya-Iwakage chamber. Because the light is lower than the sloping face of 40 degrees of the F stone, you can see from these two photos that the light is striking the face. Winter light shines into Iwaya-Iwakage.

夕  Evening

 December 2 (Friday) evening, one French visitor, Kobayashi and Tokuda guiding.

6-5fb8974aThe French visitor asked to buy three copies of the Kanayama Megaliths Solar Observation Guidebook so as to introduce the megaliths widely in France. He exclaimed that the Kanayama Megalith group is “rare and unique in the world.” Immediately after he got off the Kanayama station and we met, we entered the theme of the subject and discussed the issue even before having coffee at the “Minoya” shop in front of the station. We headed for Kanayama Megaliths in an excited state. He said that the scale is bigger than he had expected. It is awesome, awesome! And he started to develop his own theory.

France is famous for the Carnac standing stones, and he asked if the Kanayama Megaliths hold the same view as Carnac that connects with the ancient Egyptian ruins. An archaeological astronomical view that used to be seen as a blind spot is becoming a subject to study in France as well. 






The climax of winter light is at 4 o’clock in the evening. The sun just before sinking into the mountain will show itself between megaliths. It’s been a fine day all day.

December 2nd is already well into the season that it can be regarded as having almost the same light as the winter solstice. 

Even though the cold of the season will increase, the power of this winter light to human beings is immeasurable. This light can be freely experienced until around February 20th. 


This year, the plan is to climb Higashinoyama for the winter solstice observation on December 21 (Wednesday). Please meet at the Iwaya-Iwakage megaliths at 7:30 in the morning. Please make a reservation to confirm the number of people accompanying you.

The winter solstice observation meeting lasts three days from 21st to 23rd. It takes place around 10:00 am until around 4:30 pm. Please use the Kanayama Megaliths Guidebook


Beginning of Early Winter at Higashinoyama


The Japanese Kanayama Megaliths blogsite has just made two new posts about the beginning of the winter season (Early Winter in the Kanayama Solar Calendar is the approximate sixty-day period prior to the winter solstice). Here is an excerpt from the post dated 2016.12.04, with permission. The original post in Japanese is:


金山巨石群 冬期の始まり   Beginning of Early Winter at Kanayama Megaliths

In the Kanayama Megaliths solar calendar, wintertime begins on about 10/23. This is similar to the calendar of ancient Egypt.

朝の観測 Morning observation

For the first observation of the Early Winter season we went mountain climbing to Higashinoyama (Higashi-no-yama, Eastern Mountain) megalith group. This year at 8:30, a total of five people departed from Iwaya-Iwakage site. Here are some photos taken when we reached the peak.

When reaching the top ridge, a little down the slope on the south side, two megaliths of 9 meters long appear side by side. This is the Higashinoyama megalithic group. The R stone that observes the morning sun of the winter solstice 12/22 is visible in the center of the photo above. The S stone can barely be seen in the left rear. Below is a photo of observation at S stone.


This is the day 10/22 for the observation at S stone. We observe from the bottom of the stone wall, as shown above. Shown below is a third megalith which is under stone S. 


The sunbeam appears on that line today, 60 days before the winter solstice. It is seen only within 10 minutes from around 9:45. After that the sunbeam will not reach here until February 20 next year because the sun altitude goes down day by day until the winter solstice. In other words, when light comes out again here, it will tell the end of about 120 days of winter, and we will know that the arrival of spring will come after 30 more days.


This day was the best observation day. Creating a calendar with a combination of giant stones and sun tells us that there was a universal idea in ancient times. This is beyond the imagination of modern people.