Research continuum

Abuyama Observatory

Established in 1930, the Abuyama Observatory is located 218m above sea level at the top of the Bijin Yama ridge, which stretches south from the summit of Mt. Abuyama in northeast Osaka prefecture. Built on the slope of the mountain, the observatory consists of a main building and an adjoining annex on its west side. The observatory was described as a remarkable modern heritage site in the report on modern heritage produced by Osaka prefecture in 2007. The report compared the entrance hall connecting the main building and the west annex to “the interior of a modernized Greek temple.” Many people visit the observatory to see the building itself, rather than the historic seismometer it houses. The upper floors, in particular, provide tremendous panoramic views of the Osaka Plain. The night view is also spectacular, with the countless lights of Osaka City seeming to spread out to the far corners of the earth. There is also an ancient tomb (kofun in Japanese) on the top of the Bijin Yama ridge. Dr. Toshi Shida, the first director of the observatory, discovered the kofun in 1934 while excavating a tunnel to conduct seismographs. A lacquered coffin containing a mummy was found in a stone chamber. X-ray photographs of the mummy taken by Dr. Shida using advanced radiographic technology indicated that the mummy was a person of noble rank. It is speculated that it could be the remains of Fujiwara no Kamatari, a famous figure in Japanese history. Visitors welcome. Take a taxi from either Settsu-Tonda Station or Takatsuki Station on JR line.

Dr. Toshi Shida(1875-1936)
is famous for discovering a quadrant-type push-pull distribution of initial seismic motion (push-pull of P wave initial motion, distributed in quadrants,) predicting the existence of deep earthquakes, and the discovery of the “Shida Number” in earth tidal force (the elastic deformation of the earth due to solar and lunar attraction). Dr. Shida also established the Beppu Meteorological Research Laboratory (which later became the Research Center for Geophysics), of Department of geophysics, Kyoto University.