Exploring the outdoors in Japan may not always be the best option to learn about the country’s culture and history, especially when it is scorching hot or when it’s freezing cold. Fortunately, there are indoor observation tours that’ll keep you entertained with the comfort of the right room temperature. These tours will help you learn more about the country’s history and some of its popular brands while providing an insight into the working condition of modern Japan. Here are the top 5 observation tours and museums that are highly recommended to visit during your visit to Japan.
Japan Airlines (JAL) has long been providing tours of their aircraft maintenance center in Tokyo for free since the mid-’50s. The reason behind this is to promote and educate people about aviation. The center underwent renovations and remodeling to modernize the facility and add more exhibits. This resulted in the opening of its SKY MUSEUM which contains an archive of JAL’s history shown in a 50-meter long memory lane arranged in chronological order.
Some of the things that you can find during the tour are related to past flights, timetables, in-flight magazines, and cabin attendant uniforms. A display of different airplane models from JAL and Japan Air System (JAS) can also be seen here. For people to be familiar with the different aviation jobs, an area was also opened to the public where they can experience taking different jobs such as of a pilot, cabin attendant, airport staff, etc. There’s also an area where you can learn more about JAL’s in-flight services and products such as their new seats. One of the most fun parts is the uniform experience wherein you can put on some JAL uniforms and take some pictures.
Mazda Motor Corporation has played a vital role in the economy of Hiroshima. Though it is not as big as Toyota, Mazda’s 787B is the first and only Japanese manufactured car to win Le Mans Grand Prix. To commemorate the founding and history of the corporation, a museum in Hiroshima was built which gives access to people who’d like to know more about Mazda’s history. The museum also shows a look into the Mazda technology, their rotary engines, and prospects for future development.
Guests are guided on a tour where they’ll be passing by several line-ups of vehicles showcasing different models. It is like tracing the history of Mazda from the 1920s up to the present day. The entrance hall is where you can find the latest Mazda models and special events. The car which won the Le Mans Grand Prix is displayed together with the rotary engines. You’ll also learn the manufacturing and assembling process of their vehicles such as the CX-5 plus a chance to see the next generation vehicles.
The SCMAGLEV and Railway Park is a museum in Nagoya that exhibits the dynamism of the Japanese railway industry since the beginning of time. Here, visitors will be able to know the technology, design, and historical aspects of Japan’s railway system. The museum is full of dreams and memories of each generation. It introduces the advances of high-speed railway through rolling stock displays. It also offers a learning place regarding the railway’s impact on the Japanese society, economy, culture, and lifestyle. It is the best way for people of all ages to learn about the various train models and simulators.
Facilities are open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with the last admission at 30 minutes before closing. It is closed on Tuesdays (but open if it’s a national holiday) and other national holidays. Admission fee is 1,000 yen for adults, 500 yen for school children, and 200 yen for children ages 3 and over. Usage of the Shinkansen Train Driving Simulator and the Conventional Train Crew Simulator requires a special fee of 500 yen. iPad-like touch screen audio guides can also be rented for 500 yen each to help you get an overall view of the whole museum.
One of the museums that connect man to nature is the Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum in Kobe. The building is surrounded by lush greenery which consists of 1 floor above the ground and 2 floors below the ground. It looks quite modern but is actually replete with traditional craftsmanship. It is well-preserved and it looks like an oasis in a city enveloped by the forest. The floor above the ground is furnished with wooden tables and chairs where visitors can get the chance to feel comfortable. The furniture were created by local woodworking artists who also made sure that everything will come to a natural order with the changing seasons.
Visitors can enjoy viewing different tools here where they can also adopt the spirit of making things. Details that demonstrate the skill of traditional craftsmanship can be seen in the museum, while some details are a combination of traditional and contemporary techniques and technology. This is one of the best ways to enjoy your time with your friends and family any time of the year.
This place is a must-visit if you’re interested in beer. Asahi offers guided brewery tours in their various breweries across Japan featuring explanations on the manufacturing process and tastings of the products made on site. A special guide will walk you through the entire brewing process. It starts with the Ingredients Exhibit followed by the Production Process Tour and then finally, Tasting.
At the Ingredients Exhibit, visitors are given the chance to touch the actual ingredients of beer. The Production Process Tour will guide you through the entire beer production process from barley-mashing to packaging. At the end of the tour, you’ll be able to taste freshly brewed beer in the open-area tasting room. This final part of the tour takes approximately 20 minutes allowing up to 3 glasses of beer per person.
The tour also features video presentations of Asahi Breweries which will give visitors knowledge on the brand’s historical background. They have breweries located in Hokkaido, Kanagawa, Shikoku, Fukushima, Nagoya, Hakata, Ibaraki, and Suita.
Improve your knowledge of Japan, its culture, and some of its brands by taking a shot at these 5 observation tours and museums in the country. Some of these are also offering the tours for free admissions which will cost you nothing at all!