Photo exhibition by Aurora Guide Ayaka Niina in Kagoshima: Captured in Norway

PUBLISHED Aug 10, 2023

Ayaka Niina inviting visitors

The photo exhibition “Eternal Moments: Encountering Moments that Touch the Heart and Soul (Japanese title: 永遠の一瞬~心と魂が震える瞬間に出逢うとき〜)” by aurora guide Ayaka Niina is currently being held at Marginal Gallery on the seventh floor of Maruya Gardens in Kagoshima City.

Ayaka Niina, born in Kagoshima City, became a guide of aurora borealis, or the northern lights, in Yellowknife, Canada in 2014. After attending a three-month language course in Canada on a working holiday visa, she searched for aurora guide jobs online. In the beginning, her English skills were not up to the level required for guiding, but she recalls having the attitude of “I don’t know if I can do it, but let’s give it a try. I only looked ahead.” She also mentioned having had the feeling that if it was her job, she could see the northern lights every day.

Subsequently, she continued to utilize working holiday visas, becoming a guide in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia in 2016 and a nature guide and stargazing guide in Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand in 2017. In 2019, she once again became an aurora guide in Tromsø, Norway.

“The aurora seen in Tromsø is exceptional,” says Niina. Instead of observing from a fixed location, the tours involve chasing the aurora while moving by car, considering factors such as weather and road conditions. In Tromsø, the aurora can be seen at minus 1 to 2 degrees Celsius in September, with no snow accumulation and a “tolerable cold.”

The exhibition features 33 photographs, including the images of northern lights taken during her guiding in Tromsø and photos depicting life in Norway.

Currently based in Kagoshima, Niina has established “Nina Universe,” offering private tours to see the aurora borealis. She also offers paid consultations about aurora tours and free consultations about studying abroad and working holidays.

Niina added, “I hope this exhibition will become an opportunity to feel closer to the northern lights.”

Opening hours: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Free admission. The exhibition runs until August 27.