History

The beginning of the star observations in continuously was from Asakusa Observatory of the shogunal tenmon-kata (the shogunal astronomical office) in the latter part of the Edo era, from Asakusa Observatory of the shogunal tenmon-kata.

In Meiji era, the observatory for the students' actual observations was established in Hongo Campus of University of Tokyo, and the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory was established in Azabu, Minato-ku, in 1888 (Meiji era 21). Afterwards, the astronomical observatory was moved to Mitaka in 1924 (Taisho era 13).

The first main tasks of the astronomical observatory were making a decision of longitude and latitude by observing stars, calculating the calendar, determining the time. These were started as a national projects in Meiji era, and still have been continued as a part of the work of observatory.

In 1988 (Showa era 63), the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory was reorganized into the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan with the Latitude Observatory in Mizusawa and so on. Moreover, after going through under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture(the Ministry of Education) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Sciences and Technology (MEXT), the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) was incorporated as the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Inter-University Research Institute Corporation on April 1, 2004.

Brief History
Year Event
June 1888 (Meiji era 21) The Tokyo Astronomical Observatory was established. (IIkura, Azabu)
September 1899 (Meiji era 32) The Latitude Observatory was established in Mizusawa.
March 1909 (Meiji era 42) Land was bought in Mitaka.
1914 (Taisho era 3) The Mitaka campus was started to establish.
1916 (Taisho era 5) Mitaka main building groundbreaking.
1920 (Taisho era 9) Solar photographic [heliograph] building [lab/room] completion.
1920 (Taisho era 9) 20-cm Telescope Dome completion.
1921 (Taisho era 10) Mitaka main building completion.
February 1925 (Taisho era 14) Publication of “Chronological Scientific (Rika Nenpyo)” began.
1926 (Taisho era 15) 65-cm Telescope Dome completion.
November 1929 (Showa era 4) 65-cm equatorial telescope was equipped.
February 1930 (Showa era 5) Solar Spectroscopy Photographic Building (The Einstein Tower) was built.
January, 1946 (Showa era 21) Publication of [Almanacs and] “Calendar and Ephemeris” began.
1949 (Showa era 24) Norikura Solar Observatory began observations. (Opening ceremony in July 1950)
1960 (Showa era 35) Okayama Astrophysical Observatory began observations. (In April, 91-cm reflector telescope test observation. In November, 188-cm reflector telescope observation has been started.)
December, 1962 (Showa era 37) Dodaira Observatory began observations (Opening ceremony on November 1).
1969 (Showa era 44) Nobeyama Solar Observatory began observations (Opening ceremony on October 9).
1982 (Showa era 57) Nobeyama millimeter radio telescope began observations (Opening ceremony of Nobeyama Radio Observatory on March 1).
July 1, 1988 (Showa era 63) The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan was established.
1992 (Heisei era 4) Nobeyama Radioheliograph began observations.
June 23, 1998 (Heisei era 10) Solar Tower Telescope (The Einstein Tower) was registered as the Tangible Cultural Properties of Japan.
January 1999 (Heisei era 11) Subaru Telescope first light (Opening ceremony on September 17).
August 6, 1999 (Heisei era 11) Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Antenna “TAMA300” began observations.
March 2000 (Heisei era 12) Dodaira Observatory was closed.
July 20, 2000 (Heisei era 12) Daily-open days began at Mitaka Campus.
April 5-6, 2001 (Heisei era 13) Agreement of ALMA project among NAOJ, the European Southern Observatory, and National Science Foundation [Europe, the United States, and Japan].
February 14, 2001 (Heisei era 13) 20-cm Telescope Dome and 65-cm Telescope Dome were registered as the Tangible Cultural Properties of Japan.
April 1, 2004 (Heisei era 16) NAOJ was incorporated as the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Inter-University Research Institute Corporation.
March 18, 2011 (Heisei era 23) The Repsold Transit Instrument was registered as the Important Cultural Properties of Japan.
2011 (Heisei era 23) ALMA initial operation has been started.
2014 (Heisei era 26) Housing of Repsold Transit Instrument (Transit Instrument Museum), Housing of Gautier Meridian Circle, First Meridian Mark Building of Gautier Meridian Circle, Second Meridian Mark Gautier Meridian Circle, Old Library and its Storehouse (Old Library), Guard House, Front Gate of NAOJ are registered as tangible cultural property of Japan.