Daruma Sunset: Where to See Kochi’s Lucky Sunsets

Along Kochi Prefecture’s 700km long coastline facing the Pacific Ocean, there are many places to see a natural wonder known as a daruma sunset. For photographers and visitors looking to experience this mirage, here is a rundown on where to go to increase your chances of spotting this “lucky sunset.”

What Exactly is a Daruma Sunset?

These peculiar sunsets are nicknamed daruma because of the silhouette the sun creates as it dips under the horizon, resembling a head above a rounded body. This looks just like a bright red daruma doll (a protective charm one can see at temples around Japan) floating on the ocean!

This mirage apparently occurs when sunlight is refracted by the warm air above the ocean surface interacting with the cold air higher above. The likelihood of catching a glimpse of one of these spectacular sunsets in Kochi is relatively high, thanks to the warm ocean currents that run along the prefecture’s coastline. Of course, this means that there are also lots of places where you can get a view of a daruma sunset!

While daruma sunsets are more likely to occur from late autumn to early spring, the timing may vary depending on the location, as well as a number of atmospheric conditions that need to occur for the mirage to appear. Due to their supposed rarity, seeing a daruma sunset is said to be lucky. However, you can increase your chances of spotting one in areas like Sukumo, where the phenomenon can be seen up to 20 times within a 3.5 month period.

Early birds might be interested to know that there are also daruma sunrises, particularly in the eastern part of Kochi around the town of Toyo. Read on to find out where you can try to catch a lucky glimpse of the morning version of the mirage!

Cape Muroto

Cape Muroto is a triangular section of coast that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. The cape is a popular spot for those trying to capture an image of the mirage, as it is possible to see both daruma sunset views from its western side, and daruma sunrises from its eastern coastline.

The best viewing points to see the sunset are: Cape Hane, Kiragawa-Nishinada Coast, Kiragawa-Hoji Fishing Port, Kiramesse Muroto, Murotsu Port and the Cape Muroto New Port (Muroto Misaki Shinko). The best viewing season differs slightly from place to place, but the phenomenon occurs most often between late September to mid-March.

You can see daruma sunrises all along the Cape Muroto coastline, including at: Sakihama Port, Kaoka-no-Meoto Iwa, and around the Shiina, Mitsu and Takaoka fishing ports. Your best chance to see a daruma sunrise is between mid-September and late March.

Shirahama Beach

Located on the most easterly point in Kochi Prefecture, the seaside of Toyo Town is known as being a great place to watch for daruma sunrises. Your best chance to experience the mirage here is from January to February.

Shirahama Beach is thought to be the best spot to capture the sunrise on camera. Shaped like an archer’s bow, the shallow white sand beach stretches out into the ocean for 50 meters making it one of the most prominent shallow beaches in Shikoku. But make sure you get there early, as you can only see it for 3 minutes from sunrise on a clear day. This is a popular place for photographers trying to capture the perfect shot.

There is a small island off the coast, and if you’re lucky enough to see a daruma sunrise here, the silhouette of this island against the sunrise adds another level to the view.

There are campgrounds and hotels in the area, so you can stay nearby to try and catch a view of this special sunrise.

Address: Shirahama, Toyo Town, Aki-Gun
TEL: 0887-29-3395 (Toyo Town Industry & Construction Division)

Kanyo Island Park

This seaside park overlooking Sukumo Bay is one of the region’s best daruma sunset viewing spots. From here you can see two uninhabited islands about 300 meters off the coast. Between mid-November and late February, daruma sunsets appear right in between two islands.

Kanyo Island is also known as a place of good fortune. During the low tides of both the full and new moon, a natural causeway appears connecting the mainland with the islands. Locally, this causeway is called the “road to good fortune” and is said to help you to meet the right person for you. Head to this part of Sukumo for a chance to see both the lucky sunset and lucky road!

Address: 17 Oshima, Sukumo City
TEL: 0880-63-1119 (Sukumo City Commerce & Tourism Division)

Michi-no-Eki Sukumo Sunny Side Park

This michi-no-eki(rest area) is a park located in a part of Sukumo Bay that resembles a peninsula, so you can see daruma sunsets across Sukumo Bay and get a panoramic view of the coastline. The best time to see the mirage in this area is mid-November to late February, and visitors flock here during this time to try and capture the perfect shot of the lucky sunset. The park has a grassy lawn area, walking paths, restaurants and souvenir shops. Keep an eye out for coral goods, which come from the huge, flourishing local reef.

Address: 1023-44 Sakanoshita, Sukumo City
TEL: 0880-63-5030
Hours: 7:30 - 18:00 (Each store may close at different times)
Closed on January 1st


The Furusato Coast, located within the boundaries of the fishing town of Nakatosa, is a great place to try and catch a glimpse of a daruma sunrise with the Futanajima Islands in the foreground. If you’re lucky enough to catch one, make sure to get the silhouette of the lighthouse in the photo too!

For an even more magical scene, head to Kure Hachimangu Shrine. Looking out toward the sea from inside the shrine grounds, you might be lucky enough to witness a daruma sunrise come up through the torii gate at the entrance of the shrine! The best time to catch this view is between September and March.

Afterwards, head to the Kure Taisho Market to grab a breakfast of freshly caught fish served over a bowl of rice.

Address: 6543-2 Kure, Nakatosa Town, Takaoka-gun
TEL: 0889-59-9090 (Michi-no-Eki Nakatosa)