See, discover, and enjoy Japan’s space developments!

To the center of Japan’s space development program

Tsukuba Space Center
(C) JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plays a central role in Japan’s space development program. The largest of all of JAXA’s facilities is the Tsukuba Space Center, which is located in Tsukuba Science City, Ibaraki Prefecture. The center has the latest test equipement on site and many exhibits do not require a reservation.

Space Dome exhibition hall

Space Dome
(C) JAXA

Regular exhibitions show the history of JAXA’s space developments as well as their current activities. Here, visitors can see exhibits such as a full-sized model of the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” on the International Space Station (ISS) and an actual rocket engine.

Rocket Square

Rocket Square
(C) JAXA

See an actual H-II rocket that is fifty meters-long. An excellent place to take commemorative photos.

Planet Cube

Exhibitions.
(C) JAXA
Space-related goods
Space food: vanilla ice cream (left) and curry (right)

Enjoy space-related exhibitions. The museum shop sells space-related goods such as stationary and astronaut food.

Space Station Tours
Space Station Course control room.
(C) JAXA

Visitors can also take guided tours (reservations by phone required. There is also the Astronaut Course, which shows the facilities used for astronauts’ training, the Space Station Course, which shows the control room of the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” (public identification is required and taking photos is prohibited), and the Rocket Course, which lets you experience the sound of a rocket launching. Some contents of the tours have changed and require admission fees (18 years and older, 500 yen) as of October 2015.

Tsukuba Space Center, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Address: 2-1-1, Sengen, Tsukuba, Ibaraki

Tel: 029-868-2023 (reception hours from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm)

Reservations: Reservations can be made from overseas by phone. If you would like an English-speaking guide during your tour, please request one when making your reservation.

Hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Closed: Mondays (except on national holidays and from July 20 to the end of August), December 29 to January 3, and during temporary closures

Access: Take the Kantetsu bus from Arakawaoki Station on the JR Joban Line or from Tsukuba Station on the Tsukuba Express. The center is a 1-minute walk from the “NIMS” bus stop.

Visit a rocket-launch complex!

The Tanegashima and Uchinoura Space Centers are located in Kagoshima, Kyushu’s southernmost prefecture. Both centers have launch complexes, where actual rockets and satellites are launched into space, and are open to visitors.

Tanegashima Space Center

Launch complex and exhibition room
(C) JAXA

The largest rocket-launch complex in Japan. The Space Science and Technology Museum displays and introduces rockets and satellites, and has a full-sized test machine on display. Within the rocket-launch complex, visitors can approach the launch point by up to a 3-kilometer (9,840 feet) radius (excluding facilities within the Center).

Tanegashima Space Center

Location: Mazu, Kukinaga, Minamitane-cho, Kumage-gun, Kagoshima

Hours: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm (until 5:30 pm in July and August)

Closed: Mondays (or the following day when it falls on a national holiday – generally open every day in August), year-end and New Year holidays (December 29 to January 1), and during temporary closures due to the launching of rockets, etc.

Access: About 50 mins. by taxi from Tanegashima Airport

Uchinoura Space Center

Launch complex
(C) JAXA

Over four hundred rockets and about thirty satellites and probes have been launched from this complex since 1962. A rocket, as well as a model of a science satellite and various types of prototypes, is on display at the Space Science and Technology Museum. Visitors can also see actual launches from various locations nearby. Please note that access to the observation areas is limited on launch days.

Uchinoura Space Center

Location: 1791-13 Minamikata, Kimotsuki-cho, Kimotsuki-gun, Kagoshima

Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Closed: Open every day (occasional temporary closures)

Access: 1 hr. 40 mins. by Limousine Bus from Kagoshima Airport to Shikatani, 45 mins. by taxi from Shikatani

Guide to other space-related facilities

Here are some other recommended space-related facilities in Japan.

National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Tokyo)

National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation

A place where you can experience the latest innovations in science and technology related to outer space, the solar system, and the environment. In addition to the Geo-Cosmos exhibit, which lets you see the earth shining in space in high definition, other popular attractions include a planetarium and various exclusive exhibitions.

Geo-Cosmos

Space Museum TeNQ(Tokyo)

TeNQ

A new space-themed entertainment museum. Watch the Big Bang from 13.8 billion years ago in the 11-m diameter Theater Sora. Another popular attraction is the installation where you can walk and leave your own footprints on an image of the moon’s surface.

Space Museum TeNQ(Tokyo)

Address: 6F Yellow Bldg., Tokyo Dome City, 1-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Tel: 03-3814-0109

Hours: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm (until 10:00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, and spring/summer/winter holidays)

Closed: Open every day

Admission: Adult: 1,800 yen, Seniors (aged 65 and older): 1,200 yen, Students: 1,500 yen, Children under 15 years old 1,200 yen. Children under 3 years old are not permitted
*Senior and students are asked to please present identification.

Access: 1-minute walk from Suidobashi Station on the JR Sobu Line or the Toei Mita Line, or a 3-minute walk from Korakuen Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line or the Nanboku Line.

Osaka Science Museum(Osaka)

Osaka Science Museum

A museum themed on space and energy. Here, visitors can experience the wonders of science and space through two-hundred exhibits attractions including a state-of-the-art planetarium and about 200 exhibits including a 1/500 million-sized model of the sun and its planets.

Space World (Fukuoka Prefecture)

Space World
(C)SPACEWORLD, INC.

A theme park located in Kitakyushu City in Fukuoka Prefecture. A space-themed park for children and adults alike with attractions, a theater, and a planetarium. The space-related goods sold at the park are very popular as souvenirs.

All space-themed facilities are very unique. What part of the universe would you like to visit?

Picture at top: Akihiro Ikeshita