Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Discover the History of Aviation in Japan at Kakamigahara Aerospace and Science Museum

Photo: Japan Australia on Flickr

Discover the History of Aviation in Japan at Kakamigahara Aerospace and Science Museum

John Asano

Kakamigahara City is a fascinating city in southern Gifu Prefecture famous for its aircraft and kimchi. Kakamigahara City has a long history with aircraft and there have been aircraft in Kakamigahara since 1917. The city was the site of Japan’s second airstrip after Saitama which was established not long after the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk. The airstrip is still in use today by Japan’s Self Defence Forces (SDF) making it the oldest existing airbase in Japan. Kawasaki Heavy Industries have also been manufacturing aircraft in the city since 1922.

Kakamigahara is also famous for its kimchi, a traditional Korean fermented side dish which you can find in unique menu items at many restaurants around the city. Some dishes you can try in Kakamigahara include kimchi takoyaki, kimchi gyoza, kimchi sushi, kimchi omuraisu, kimchi sandwiches and my personal favourite kimchi chahan.


Photo: sotheavy on Flickr

A great place to discover and explore the history of Japan’s aviation industry in Kakamigahara is at the Kakamigahara Aerospace and Science Museum. Located close to the center of town, the museum is a whole lot of fun and quite surprising with the amount of aircraft it houses.


Photo:  Japan Australia on Flickr

The fun starts as soon as you exit the car park with several large aircraft on display outside the main museum building to greet you. They include a US-1A Rescue Flying-Boat, a P-2J Anti-Submarine Airplane, a transport plane and V-107A transport Helicopter.


Photo: kanonn on Flickr

The museum features over 35 aircraft on display including research aircraft, experimental aircraft, helicopters, human-powered aircraft, fighter jets, transport planes, and a display of aircraft manufactured locally in Kakamigahara.

Once inside, the museum is divided up into five main sections. The first section is called “Welcome House” and features the history of aviation in Kakamigahara with an awesome reproduction of the 1910 “Hans Grade” Monoplane, the first aircraft to fly in Japan. It was also the first aircraft to be built locally in Kakamigahara City.


Photo: Japan Australia on Flickr

The second section is called “Display Area” and features experimental planes and domestic planes in Kakamigahara.


Photo: Japan Australia on Flickr


Photo: Japan Australia on Flickr

The third section is called “Theme House” and is located on the third floor. It displays an introduction about people who have tried to fly in Japan and around the world. It also explains about the challenge of flying and the principals of flight.

The fourth section is called “The History of Space Development” and as you guessed is all about rockets and space exploration.


Photo: Japan Australia on Flickr

The fifth section is called “Mars Exploration Rover” and is about the Mars exploration rover. There is a fantastic model of the actual Mars exploration rover here to check out and admire.


Photo: Japan Australia on Flickr

The museum is a lot of fun for families and kids as well with lots of cool activities to keep the kids busy for hours. These include water propelled rockets, craft activities and the chance to actually sit in the cockpit of some of the aircraft and receive a flying lesson from the friendly museum staff.

The Kakamigahara Aerospace and Science Museum is one of the leading aerospace museums in Japan. If you have an interest in all things aeronautical then this is definitely the place for you. Just remember to try some local kimchi while you are in town.


Address: 5-1 Shimogiri-cho, Kakamigahara City, Gifu Prefecture 504-0924

Hours: Open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Closed: Closed on Tuesdays (except in August) & Dec 27 - Jan 2

Admission: 800 JPY

Phone: 058-386-8500

Website (in Japanese): http://www.city.kakamigahara.lg.jp/ 


From Nagoya take a Meitetsu Express train to Kakamigahara Shiyakusho Mae Station. From the Sangyo Bunka Center Mae bus stop at Meitetsu Kakamigahara Shiyakusho Station take the Fureai Bus to the Koku Uchu Kagaku Hakubutsukan Mae bus stop located outside the museum.