Observatory Over Sea Of Clouds Sees Sky - High Popularity

Observatory over sea of clouds sees sky-high popularityUp to 1,000 tourists a day are flocking to an observatory here to enjoy an early morning view of a sea of clouds spreading beneath them.

Dubbed the "sea of clouds terrace," the observatory at Hoshino Resort Tomamu in Shimukappu is located at an altitude of 1,088 meters. Visitors take a 13-minute gondola ride from the foot of the mountain to reach the observatory.

The chance of the clouds forming is normally around 30 percent, but this year the frequency has topped 40 percent since the opening of the observatory in June, attracting 500 to 1,000 visitors a day.

The observatory will be open to tourists though Oct. 9, from 5 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The round-trip gondola fare is 1,800 yen for adults and 1,200 for elementary school children.