When visiting Japan, there are endless aerospace exploration adventures to be had at JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) facilities. From an epic discovery of aerospace with professionals to a picturesque journey throughout the vast site. There are 18 JAXA facilities in Japan but not all of them are known equally. If you’re looking for a great scientific experience, here is a list of the best JAXA facilities.
1. Tanegashima Space Center
One of the most incredible places I have visited that really exceeded my expectations was the Tanegashima Space Center. It takes 50 minutes from Yakushima Island, a world natural heritage area, to Tanegashima island by high-speed boat. You can join the guided tour for taking pictures of the largest Japanese launch site for large-scale satellites and experimental modules.
Matchlock Museum – Anyone who has been to Tanegashima will know this small museum is a must visit in the city. Opened since 1983, this museum offers a unique display of Tanegashima modern history and shows how matchlock technology was imported from Portugal from 1543.
Gesso House – We had a chance to hold a matchlock at Gesso House near the Matchlock Museum. The architecture of the Gesso House is reason enough to visit but the collection of folk crafts is also valuable.
HOPE Inn – HOPE Inn is designed to emulate the South Asian small islands, with mangrove trees and blue sky. Dinner is served at a dining room with local produce and fresh fish supplied from the nearest port. Tanegashima is a small island with a length of 58 kilometers and width of 12 kilometers. So, we could visit a public hot spring spa to relax while watching the sunset before dinner.
2. Tsukuba Space Center
It takes one hour by an express bus from Tokyo Station. Not only is the Tsukuba Space Center one of the largest facilities of JAXA, it is also one of my favorite attractions in Ibaraki Prefecture. If you are seeking a deeply insightful experience you certainly could do no better than to visit Tsukuba Space Center to join a guided tour. The most exciting part is to talk about aerospace with knowledgeable researchers and staff. The halls are filled with endless exhibitions to discover, while outside there are displays of rockets which alone make it a place worth visiting.
3. Sagamihara Campus
The Sagamihara Campus is slightly smaller than other JAXA facilities, but has a large collection of prototypes and models. You can join a guided tour to step inside select exhibits here. An advance reservation is needed.