Experience Flying a Plane at This Air and Space Museum in Japan

It is located in Japan's city of airplanes.

Gifu Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum
Address: 5-1 Shimogiricho, Kakamigahara City, Gifu Prefecture
Contact: +81-58-386-8500
Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and holidays except the first Tuesdays of every month.
Fees: ¥800 for adults, free for JHS students and below
How to get there: 15-minute car ride from Gifu Kakamigahara IC along the Tokai Hokuriku Expressway

Did you know that
Kakamigahara City in southern Gifu is also called the city of airplanes? The oldest active airfield in Japan opened in Kakamigahara in 1917, which attracted many aerospace equipment manufacturers to the city making it an aviation fan’s paradise. In order to promote the aerospace industry in Gifu, the country’s most authentic aviation and space museum, Gifu Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum (hereinafter referred to as “Sorahaku”) reopened in 2018. Now that going out is not advisable, check out the valuable exhibits in the museum and be inspired by the clear blue skies in these photos.

The museum’s theme is to give children ambition and make them feel the excitement of conveying humanity’s effort in reaching the sky and space and how they were determined to achieve these goals.

A total of 9,400m
2 exhibition space has 43 aircrafts and helicopters, the largest number in the country.

The building is divided into 2 parts: the
Aviation Area and the Space Area. Aside from the rare exhibits, you can also enjoy hands-on activities such as the passenger plane and small jet plane simulators, and the water rocket making classes. We asked their PR officer for their top 5 exhibits in the museum. The first one is Hien, the most manufactured airplane in Kakamigahara.

Only Sorahaku has Hien displayed in almost perfect condition.

Approximately 3,000 of
Army Type 3 Fighter-2 Hien were built during the war. Only a few of the fighter planes used still exist at present time, so seeing one in almost perfect condition is truly unbelievable. The cutting edge technology of the plane that supported Japan back then is displayed along with the documents of Takeo Doi, the designer of Hien.

Second is the full-scale model of
Army Otsu-1 Reconnaissance Aircraft (Salmson 2A2), which first flew in Kakamigahara Airfield in 1922. It is a precious airplane that served as a cornerstone of the aerospace industry in the city.

Full scale model of Army Otsu-1 Reconnaissance Aircraft (Salmson 2A2) restored in 1995.

Army Otsu-1 Reconnaissance Aircraft was built in Kakamigahara after importing the reconnaissance aircraft, Salmson 2A2, developed by the French company
Salmson at the end of WW1. The parts used for the interplane struts and the propeller are from the original plane.


Next is the first purely domestic rocket engine,
LE-7 Engine.

Displayed is the actual LE-7 Engine used in the ground experiment.

LE-7 Engine, which took 8 years to develop, is the first engine for H-II rocket that was manufactured with only Japanese technology and is also the first stage engine used for the first launch. Its complex construction is overwhelming.

Fourth is the largest actual airplane on display, the
Quiet STOL research aircraft Asuka.

Quiet STOL research aircraft Asuka, studied for short takeoff and landing (STOL) and aircraft noise reduction technology.

has undergone flight experiments for 3 and a half years since 1985. It is an experimental aircraft developed and researched by the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (currently known as JAXA) to advance the technology for a low-noise aircraft that can take off and land on small regional airports. The concept of creating a commemorative facility for Asuka led to the opening of the museum.

The last is the
Mitsubishi T-2 CCV, a modification of the T-2 advanced jet trainer aircraft.

Mitsubishi T-2 CCV was used for technical research and training of test pilots at the
Japan Air Self Defense Force Gifu Air Base.

Mitsubishi T-2 CCV has Control Configuration Vehicle technology which automatically keeps the computer in optimal flight state thus reducing the burden on the pilot. It is a popular aircraft also used as the cover photo of the official guidebook and the illustration for the annual passport of Sorahaku.

Last May 19, Sorahaku opened with limited access to keep the number of visitors controlled. Try the simulators when you go. The small jet plane simulator where you can experience virtually flying over Kakamigahara City is recommended. You can also ride an actual helicopter and pilot a radio-controlled one in the helicopter control experience. Pretend to be a part of the Hayabusa2 crew, an actual spacecraft that will return to earth this year, and accomplish your mission in the Hayabusa2 mission experience. The
Sorahaku Museum Shop and Sorahaku Cafe may be utilized for free. (Limited access/viewing only)

In the small jet plane simulator, guests can actually try moving the controller as real pilots do when flying.

Original items are available at the Sorahaku Museum Shop.

Enjoy the aerospace themed menu while watching the airplanes at Sorahaku Cafe.

Photos courtesy of Gifu Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum.

Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokai Walker™ (19 May 2020)

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