Gunma Observatory: Japanese Stonehenge

japanese replica 4photo by Hatsuki NISHIO, with permission

Imagine our chagrin upon visiting The Megalithic Portal to find a replica we’d never heard of gracing its news page! We’d always suspected that Japan must have at least one large permanent replica, but searching in Japanese presented a problem. Well, now we have a Stonehenge from the Land of the Rising Sun, and Mr. Hatsuki Nishio tells us it is not the only one! (How we longed use the title  Samurai Stonehenge! Doesn’t it have a ring to it?)

Gunma Observatory (A Google Translate version of their website can be seen here. We’re thinking the word lithograph in the second part there should be megalith.) appears to be a real observatory with a teaching and a tourist function. It is located near the village of Nakayama in Honshu, Japan.

japanese replica 3The replica itself is interesting, as astronomy-oriented ones often are. The bluestones are missing, and the uprights around the outside vary greatly in width, being very narrow and close together in some sections of the circle, as you can see above, while others are more similar in proportion to those in the original. The curve of the lintels in the inner trilithons is also noteworthy.

Still, we like this replica and its placement at the top of a hill with a view. It doesn’t have the mystical atmosphere thing going for it, but it does say interesting things. As we’ve said before, each replica tells you something about whoever built it–what they see and what they deem worthy of reproducing from the original. Astronomers tend to see a clean, balanced construction meant only to be an observatory when they see Stonehenge.

Score: 8 druids. In this business, size matters. For a look at a different style of Japanese replica, made to be part of a cemetery, scroll down this page.  Not sure when we’ll have the photos we need to do a post on it, but when we do, you’ll be the first to know. Until then, 今はさようなら。 !