The Museum of Aeronautical Sciences (航空科学博物館, Kōkū Kagaku Hakubutsukan) is an aviation museum located just outside of Narita Airport at the southern end of its main runway. The museum is of interest to both plane enthusiasts and non enthusiasts alike with lots of real aircraft on display, as well as simulators and other hands-on activities.
Inside the museum you can see full scale replicas of historic planes and components of modern planes such as the landing gear and engine of a Boeing 747. You can also try piloting a plane at one of the museum's life sized simulators or get in the replica cockpits of a Mitsubishi Zero fighter or the Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis.
Additionally, the museum's third floor has an outdoor observation deck with a view of the southern end of Narita Airport's runway, while the fourth floor has a restaurant, and the fifth floor houses an indoor observatory modeled after a flight control tower. Both observation areas and the restaurant have good views of planes taking off and landing.
On a yard in front of the museum there are over a dozen aircraft on display, predominantly smaller propeller planes and helicopters. Some of the aircraft can be entered, and a few come with a simulator.
Besides the museum's observation decks, there are two public viewpoints around the airport from where you can watch the action on the runway. The Sakura no Oka Observation Area is located near the southern end of the runway close to the museum, while the Sakura no Yama Observation Area is at the northern end. Observation decks are also found on each of the airport's terminal buildings.
Museum of Aeronautical Sciences
From the airport
Airport Museum Shuttle buses depart from Narita Airport Terminal 1 (first floor, bus stop 30) and Terminal 2 (third floor, bus stop 5) for the museum. The trip takes 15-20 minutes, costs 210 yen, and there are only around five departures per day. Alternatively, there are almost hourly JR buses bound for Narita Station from Terminal 1 (first floor, bus stop 30) and Terminal 2 (first floor, bus stop 28-C) that stop at the Museum of Aeronautical Sciences along the way (about 15-20 minutes, 210 yen one way).
From the city center
Two JR buses per hour connect Narita Station with the Museum of Aeronautical Sciences (30 minutes, 530 yen one way).
Only the Sakura no Yama Observation Area is served by public transport. Some of the JR buses that operate between Narita Station, the Museum of Aeronautical Sciences and Narita Aiport (one every 1-2 hours) stop at Sakura no Yama along the way (about 15 minutes, 360 yen from Narita Station or 30 minutes from Narita Airport). Alternatively, the observation areas can be accessed by car or taxi. By taxi, it costs about 2400 yen to get from the airport to the Sakura no Oka Observation Area and about 1200 yen to get to the Sakura no Yama Observation Area.