There is "Aeronautical Science Museum" near Narita international airport. It is a very interesting spot especially for airplane lovers or the family with small children.
Access from Narita Airport
It is approximately 5 ~ 6km from Narita Airport. It is too long to walk. It is recommended to use transportation (taxi, train, bus).
By scheduled bus from Narita airport
After arriving at the airport, you can use scheduled bus (Route bus) to go. There are 3 bus routes.
However, please note carefully that it operates not so often. In case you do not come in time for the bus departure, you can use taxi instead as there are a lot of taxis stopped in front of airport terminal building. You will catch a taxi easily at any time.
On the other hands, when returning from the museum to the airport, it is not easy to call a taxi, so it will be better for you to plan to use scheduled (route) bus.
This is time table. You will find 3 options of [To Museum of Aeronautical Sciences].
If you are worried, there is a very good way. There is [Visitor Service Center（tourist information for foreigners)] on the first floor of Narita Airport Terminal 1.
▼You will get good solution there（Visitor Service Center）▼
If you drove a car, it would be much more convenient. You may be able to enjoy plane watching in addition if time is afforded.
There is a parking lot of a large size (300 cars available). The holiday I visited was only half full in the crowded time. There is parking space besides the picture below.
General information of the museum
（※）In case Monday is the day of National holiday, next day (Tuesday) is closed.
（※）Every day open :29-31DEC, 21JUL-31AUG (during students summer holiday)
Admission fee : 500JPY for adults, 200 to 300 JP\ for children.
(Some of guided tour needs the extra admission fee)
and is a conscientious fee. (However, there is a charge separately on the tour in the hall)
There is one restaurant inside the museum, but it may often be crowded in the lunch time of holidays. There are no shops near outside of the museum. It is also a good way to prepare small meals or snacks in advance. (You can enjoy picnic lunch outside if weather is good)
Booking guided tour
Exhibits are very substantial inside the 5-storey building. Especially, it will be fun to visit an airplane from the outdoor observatory on the third floor.
Inside the museum, there are the following guided tours, but the reservation is necessary because the capacity is limited. You can make a reservation at the entrance counter (not possible in advance), but during the early hours of the morning (10:00-11:00), it seems that the whole day 's reservation will be full. Also, the tour will be guided in Japanese (there is no English tour).
◆ DC-8 Simulator Experience
◆ Boeing 747-400 large model maneuvering experience
◆ Boeing 747 section 41 In-flight tour guide
Introduction inside of the museum
▲ Entrance to the museum. there are many airplanes exhibited in front of the museum building. Your mood will rise up ! The feature of the museum is that exhibits are not models but actual ones. Even if you do not participate in a guided tour, it will be amazing experience for children and people who like airplanes.
▲ The entrance to the exhibition space is like security check (X-ray) in the airport before boarding an airplane. The reception desk for the ticket check looks like a check-in counter.
Exhibition on the first floor
▲ Internal structure of jet engine of Jumbo jet (Boeing 747).
▲ Cross section of the body of Jumbo Jet (Boeing 747). The internal structure of the aircraft that you can not see usually when you board an airplane. Looking closer, it is unexpectedly big and very powerful.
▲ Guided tour (in Japanese). There are many things to know for the first time by his commentary of senior volunteers who engaged in aviation industry.
▲ Children can try to sit freely in the cockpit.
Exhibition on the second floor
"Airplane model", "History of airplane", "Great diorama of Narita airport" exhibition etc.
What is very interesting in this floor will be "sound experience room". I experienced the sound of aircraft, and even for the adults there were things to study.
View from 3rd floor (outdoor observation deck)
Outdoor observation deck on the third floor. Jet aircraft is passing on your head with the roaring sound just before the arrival or after the departure from Narita airport. Since it is the end of Narita Airport's northernmost part, A runway (about 4 km), you can see the airplanes very closely.
5th Floor (Observation Exhibition Room)
5th floor. Exhibits of equipment related to air traffic control such as control console. You can see the arrival and departure of A runway from the building.
Boeing 747 "Section 41"
This is an in-flight tour (500 JP\ in addition to entrance fee). "Section 41" is the brain part of the airplane which is considered to be the most important. You can only visit here if you apply for the guided tour in advance (reservation is at the reception desk).
Since it is only conducted twice a day, you need to book early after you enter the museum. ( You can check the schedule table in the chapter “Booking guided tour” of this blog.
▼ Books and magazines related with Aviation. Both for adults and children, it is also convenient for the small break.
▼ Panoramic restaurant "balloon" on the 4th floor. There is no restaurant except this restaurant around the museum. It is difficult to go to the nearest convenience store nearby unless you can drive (too far on foot) . I would recommend to eat at this restaurant or preparing some of food to eat beforehand.
Approximately 20 small airplanes such as Cessna, propeller aircraft, helicopter etc are displayed. It was a fun experience that I entered into each plane.
▼ If the weather was good, you would enjoy to eat outside, it is like picnic.
History exhibitions of Sky and Land
The museum is located in the site of museum, 1-2 minutes from the main building.
There are exhibitions related to the history of the airport construction. When Narita Airport was under construction in the 1970s, local farmers were opposed to the construction.
It was sometimes violent struggle between the anti-opponents and the constructivists. The exhibit hall also displays the helmet and hoe that were used for the anti-opponent movement. It is possible to know the history of Narita airport and difficulty.
I’ve also participated in the JAL (Japan Air Lines) Factory Tour of Haneda Airport - Tokyo before. But there was a surplus to see this exhibit of Museum of Aeronautical Sciences.
JAL's factory tours was also good to be able to see actual operating airplanes. And we can know Japan Airlines and general aviation information such as the work of flight organizations.
However, at the point of the number and variety about air crafts, Museum of Aeronautical Sciences are more interesting.
There are good places to see airplanes at or near Narita Airport. If you plan to visit these watching spots in addition, you will have a more wonderful day.