Tagged: museum

Ex-Meitetsu Mino Station

I took the family in the car for a short drive north through Gifu prefecture to Mino, a beautiful city, known as the home of Japanese paper (washi). Reminiscent of Kyoto and Takayama, Mino has streets filled with traditional houses and many shops selling paper lanterns.

As fascinating as all that is, our 2-year-old boy much prefers trains, so off we went to the former Meitestsu Mino Station!

Ex-Meitetsu Mino Station

The Meitetsu Mino line had a history dating back to 1911. When completed, it served over two dozen locations on the  24.8km track between Mino and Gifu City. In 1999, Mino station was closed down and by April, 2005 the entire Mino line was abolished, apparently replaced by Meitetsu buses.

Today, Mino station remains as a popular tourist attraction, with three and a bit “one-man” trains. I say bit, because the train on the far left in the photo below has been cut in half, leaving just the driver’s section.

3 and a half trains

Back in the day

The waiting area at the station is filled with mementos from the line’s past, such as these old photos that hang on the wall or are laid out on tables.

A snowy morning

A new train?

The Meitetsu Mino Line

All aboard!

You can climb on board the three main trains at the station. One of them almost looks track-worthy while the other two have had most their chairs stripped out and some old equipment and memorabilia put on display in their place.

On board one of the trains

On board one of the trains

On board one of the trains

The "cockpit"

Inside the station

The station itself is crammed with photos, Choro-Q trains, old timetables and much more. I was particularly fond of the sofas, which are actually seats from the trains.

The station master's office

Welcome to Mino station!

Inside the station

Inside the station

Odds and ends

Train seats as sofas

On the platform

Our son had a great time at Mino Station, but unfortunately, it wasn’t because of the trains… not the real ones anyway. On the platform, between the trains, was a huge Plarail set which kept Rikuto more than happy. That wasn’t the only strange sight on the platform. There were a couple of go-karts with nowhere to go, gardens growing where the train buffers were, and most surprising, a bullet train nose cone!

Plarail on the platform

A go-kart with nowhere to go

Gardens for train buffers

A bullet train nose cone

More information

We were only there for half an hour before heading off to Mino’s Ogura park to see the peacocks and turkeys, but we had a great time!

Posing in front of the old trains

The Ex-Meitetsu Mino station is free to enter and a must see if you plan to visit Mino. Here’s a Google map of the location. If you can read Japanese, here are some related Wikipedia links to help you find the area and plan other things to do while you’re there:

Kakamigahara Aerospace Museum

Rather than sit in front of the TV all day while keeping an eye on Rikuto, I decided to take him to the Kakamigahara Aerospace museum instead.

Kakamigahara is home to the Gifu Self-Defense Force Air Base and the Kawasaki Aerospace Division, so perhaps to make up for the noise of fighter jets flying overhead, the public are treated to a museum dedicated to flying machines.

The museum was better than I expected. While most of the focus is on Japanese planes, designers from Kakamigahara, and products of Kawasaki, there are also displays about man’s early attempts at flying, rockets, helicopters, more rockets, space stations and Jules Verne stories. Real planes fill the area outside the museum as well as inside the main hall, and you can get on board and sit in the cockpits of some of them, too.

Rikuto enjoyed watching a remote controlled helicopter fly around inside a large plastic dome, the walls of the dome preventing Ricky from touching the whirring propeller blades. He also liked playing with the computers and clicking the mouse buttons, somehow navigating through a database of rocket engines.

Best of all, though, was crawling around among the planes and helicopters in a hall which we pretty much had to ourselves. If you’re in Nagoya or Gifu and have kids with you, I can recommend a couple of hours at the Kakamigahara Aerospace museum.