Sun Messe Nichinan, Nichinan, Miyazaki
Photo Source: The Sunset Blog

Sun Messe Nichinan, Nichinan, Miyazaki

UniquenessThe sunset watched here, how different is it from the others?
VisibilityIs the sunset likely to be seen from the location?
AccessibilityHow easy is it to get to the location? ("-" means the location cannot be revisited at will)
CrowdHow busy is the location? ("-" means the location has no public access or I was on the move)
OverallIs this location worth a sunset visit?

A nod to the famous Moai of Easter Island, the Sun Messe statues are the only replicas allowed to be made of the originals in the entire world. You’ll find them in this quirky amusement park along the Nichinan coast in Miyazaki. With the crystalline waters of the Pacific Ocean and the swaying palm trees scattered around the island, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the Easter Island itself. Built in 1996, it’s said that each of the seven Moai statues embody some sort of fortitude, whether it be a blessing for good health, love, leisure, marriage, money, fruitful business, or academics. As such, visitors can regularly be seen praying in front of the statues.

Back on Easter Island, oral tradition also has it that these seven Moai are representative of the seven explorers who were sent to get the lay of the ancient land while waiting for the return of their king. Created in the image of the Ahu Akivi, the Sun Messe statues mirror their originals in both size and shape. Traditionally, the Moai were all built to face inwards, as if to protect the inhabitants of the island and to oversee their day-to-day lives. However, whereas the other Moai statues on Easter Island traditionally faced towards the land, the original Ahu Akivi were built to face towards the Pacific Ocean, seemingly to safely guide wandering travellers to the island. Despite this tradition, the Miyazaki replicas were built to face inward so that they would be pointed in the direction of the Ahu Akivi standing 15,000 kilometres across the ocean.

The statues are the main draw but you can spend some time browsing the rest of the sites. There’s a small museum with a slightly random display, a butterfly garden and the requisite souvenir shop selling little Moai-themed trinkets.

  • The Moai statues are very iconic, for those who find Easter Island too far to visit, this is quite a great alternative destination.
  • Visibility of the sunset is quite a problem, as the statues all facing the west, meaning in order to take a sunset photo, you have to do it from their back.
  • Its opening hours from 09:30 – 17:00. Closed to the public on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month, except August when it is open every day. There is an entrance fee of ¥700 with free parking. It is recommended to come here by driving a car, but you can also take a bus bound for Nichinan from Miyako City and alight at Moai Cape, an approximately 60mins ride.
  • The whole place is very spacious but all the crowds are pretty much concentrated on the statues, which leads to long waiting time queuing for photos. As the location closes at 17:00, it can be very competitive to fight for photo taking opportunities with other tourists during sunset, although most of the crowds are gone before closure, so the best moment for photos is actually during the last 30 minutes of the day.

Location of the Sunset