Wow factor planetarium, science museum and Toyota fun
Aichi Prefecture between Tokyo and Osaka
In between the action-packed stops in Tokyo and Osaka, you might be searching for somewhere that is a little less touristy where you can just ‘chill’. A stopover in Aichi Prefecture might just be for you. The prefecture is often overlooked by international travellers, making it one of those ‘off-the-radar’ destinations you have been looking for.
For those days when you want to avoid travelling far from the station (especially when you are toting tots) here are three central Nagoya attractions – all located right nearby the station. From stargazing in HD at Japan’s first LED-powered planetarium to interactive Toyota Group museums, there are some zany experiences to be had.
Newly opened! See the stars in HD at the Konica Minolta Planetarium MANTEN Nagoya
A stop at Nagoya MANTEN, the newest planetarium of Konica Minolta Planetarium Co., Ltd is worth a visit for star lovers as the planetarium theatre will be Japan’s first LED dome system. Unlike conventional projector-based dome systems, Nagoya MANTEN will be the first in the country to use DYNAVISION®-LED, a LED dome system that recreates images with LED elements. With higher luminance levels and rich, deep colours, Nagoya MANTEN will turn heads with its reproduction of highly realistic and beautiful starry skies.
When visiting families should book themselves into one of the ‘clouds seats’ signature to Konica Minolta Planetarium’s MANTEN planetariums, to sit back in cushioned comfort as you enjoy the projected night skies spread out above you.
Get there: The Nagoya MANTEN planetarium is part of a new shopping mall in the same block as the internationally loved ceramic maker’s retired factory grounds, Noritake Garden, which is only a 15-minute walk from Nagoya Station.
Uncover the tech of the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
With Aichi being the home of automobile giant Toyota’s main headquarters, there is a selection of their world-class attractions around Aichi for the tech lovers. Closest to Nagoya Station you can find the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, which features hands-on exhibits to lead you through the inspiring history of the manufacturing icon and its founders. The museum inhabits the original factory buildings which were built by the Toyota Group’s founder, Sakichi Toyoda.
Here you can find an array of interactive exhibits, including their Automobile Pavilion that showcases Toyota’s automobile manufacturing process from various angles. This exhibition is divided into five zones: The early period of Toyota’s automobile business, their automobile developments through the years, Toyota’s automobile technology, Toyota’s production technology and lastly, the section on Toyota’s founders.
Something fun and hands-on for the kids at the museum is their Techno Land, a room filled with original game machines where children can experience the fun of crafting with the principles and mechanisms employed in Toyota’s automobiles.
Get there: The Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology can be reached in just over a 15-minute walk from Nagoya Station.
Engage the fun side of science at the Nagoya City Science Museum
Not only one of the city’s most recognisable icons, but the Nagoya City Science Museum has many highlights. The landmark spherical design is actually part of one of the displays, the world’s biggest planetarium that boasts a diameter of 35-metres. Spread over seven floors are enthralling exhibits that cover a wide selection of scientific fields, the three main sections being life sciences, science and technology and, astronomy (hence the planetarium).
Interactive learning is one of the best parts of a trip to the Nagoya City Science Museum with its hands-on learning exhibits and experiments for children and adults alike. From witnessing nine-metre tall man-made tornados at the Tornado Lab to experiencing the extreme temperatures of the north and south poles in the Deep Freeze Lab, you are sure to lose track of time as you jump from exciting exhibit to exhibit.
Get there: The Nagoya City Science Museum can be reached from Nagoya Station in approximately 10 minutes by those using a taxi, or alternatively take the subway one stop from Nagoya Station, getting off at Fushimi Station where the museum is only a 5 minute walk away.
Aichi Prefecture, Japan: Known to locals as the ‘heart’ of Japan, Aichi Prefecture boasts a colourful past as a crucial point for traffic between east and west Japan. It is highly diverse and is a melting pot where were rustic Japanese charm meets innovation and technology.
How to travel to get to Aichi
By bullet train: One hour and 40 minutes from Tokyo, 50 minutes from Osaka and just 35 minutes from Kyoto to get to Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture’s capital and Japan’s fourth largest city.
By air: Aichi Prefecture’s international airport, Chubu Centrair International Airport offers ease of access from other airports in Japan, as well as for those flying from Australia via South East Asia.
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