On the day of my departure to Miami, I went to Narita airport from the morning to spend the day spotting there before getting onboard. After a quick morning session on the Terminal 1 observation deck, I decided to visit the Museum of Aeronautical Sciences that is located a 15-minute bus ride from the airport.
I arrived at the museum fifteen minutes after getting on the 9:35AM bus from Terminal 1. The bus, leaving from bus stand #30, runs very infrequently (timetable further down), and costs 210 yen (about 2USD). After a couple of stops, it arrives right in front of the museum entrance.
When I arrived, the museum was still closed, and so I walked back towards the gate to see a shrine that is right next to the museum, as well as to take a look at a Fuji FA-200 (JA3848) which serves as a “gate guard.”
Then I walked back inside the museum premises, past a nose section of a Boeing 747-200 (N862NW, ex-Northwest Airlines), and into the outdoor exhibit area which features a dozen or so aircraft ranging from helicopters and light aircraft all the way to the Japanese prop airliner, YS-11.
While the majority of the aircraft can only be seen from the outside, it is possible to explore the interior of some of them, including the YS-11.
When I was done with checking out the outdoor exhibits, I entered the museum building.
In the reception area, there is a gift shop. There are also some aircraft engines displayed. Finally, there is a ticket vending machine – the price of an adult ticket is 500 yen (about 4.5USD).
The first floor of the museum features a large circular room a large Boeing 747 model in the middle. Along the walls, various (mainly 747-related) aircraft part are displayed. To me, the two most interesting exhibits in this part, and in the whole museum as well, were a Pratt & Whitney JT-D engine from a 747 and three cross-sections of actual aircraft (YS-11, DC-8, 747).
There was also a separate room that was designed as cabin of an ANA aircraft.
Then, I went up a floor. The second floor offered nice view of the exhibit on the first floor. There were also aircraft models and some other smaller exhibits along the wall.
In a separate room, there is a mock-up of Narita airport in the middle. Along the walls of the room, there were some aircraft photos displayed. Finally, there were also descriptions about how an aircraft and an airport works, targeted at children.
Aircraft Spotting from the Museum
While the above makes up the majority of the exhibits, the museum has three more floors.
The third floor features an outdoor observation platform which gives good views of runway 34L action. The fourth floor houses a restaurant, which offers great views of the airport as well.
Finally, the fifth floor is the main observation hall, and offers similar views to the third and fourth floor. On the fifth floor, there are also some aircraft models and ATC equipment displayed.
Heading to Hikoki-no-Oka Park
After going through the museum, I walked to Hikoki-no-Oka Park which offers good photo opportunities of aircraft landing on runway 34L. It takes about ten minutes on foot to get to the park, but more about that in a separate post.