February 02, 2017

Anticipation of the Journey


Surely you have wanderlust, when your heart flutters at the sight of trains, boats, and airplanes. A true lover of travel not only enjoys the destination, but also the process of getting there. The journey starts from planning the trip; evaluating every possible way of getting around. For some, that might lead to interest in the vehicle of transport itself. One way you might fulfill such interest is by visiting transportation museums, or perhaps through factory tours provided by some companies. Come with us on this factory tour that will tickle your desire to travel, offered by the internationally renown Japan Airlines!

Excitement builds on arrival at the train station

Due to its popularity, it is fairly difficult to reserve a place on the factory tour offered by Japan Airlines. You will have a better chance if you plan for weekdays in small groups, and the key is to regularly check the website updates. Once you have successfully reserved a place on the tour, all you have to do now is show up to the factory. Once you arrive to ground level from the Tokyo Monorail “Shin-Seibijo” Station, you will immediately see airplanes landing and taking off on the left hand side, giving you that exciting feeling that you are in the proximity of the airport.

Once you finish your registration paperwork, you are guided into the facility. On the other side of the elevator doors you are greeted by a mockup of a Boeing 777. It is at this exhibition hall that you will wait for the tour to start.




Literally a “Sky Museum”

This “Sky Museum” exhibition hall is divided into the “Job introduction” area that showcases the services that Japan Airlines employees provide, and the “archives” area that displays the history of the airline company. The “Job introduction” area is divided into the aircraft mechanic, ground handling staff, airport staff, flight attendant, and pilot booths. In this area you can learn about each type of job with the hands on experience of seeing and touching the actual equipment used onboard. Needless to say, this area is the most popular amongst children.
On the other hand, the adults are most likely to be fascinated by the “archives” area. As well as the historical documentation that starts from JAL’s establishment in 1951, a myriad of interesting and nostalgic items are presented in this area, including schedules, in-flight menus and give-away products. The most popular exhibit for all ages is the archive of past uniforms worn by the employees. The somewhat nostalgic feeling that this exhibit portrays reflects the changes in fashion trends over the decades. Furthermore, at the back of the exhibition hall is an area where children and adults can dress up in these uniforms.



Observing a real aircraft maintenance in progress

The hangar tour is arguably the most exciting part of the factory tour. In this section of the tour, you are able to observe the maintenance of an airplane that was just flying in the air. Although the hangar is large enough to park up to 5 aircraft, the type of airplane in the hangar will depend on that certain moment. Some enthusiasts are known to revisit the tour multiple times to observe the different types of aircraft up close.

In contrast to watching the airplanes at the gates, looking up from the ground gives a much more tangible perspective of the scale of these aircraft. Aircraft maintenance is divided into two types – the terminal inspection and maintenance that takes place in the hangar, and the line maintenance conducted during the time in between flights. There is a distinct tension in the atmosphere as the mechanics work in a swift yet meticulous manner.

Furthermore, the view of the runway from the hangar is breathtaking. On a clear day, you could observe planes departing and landing with Mt. Fuji in the background. No other view can give that urge to just hop on a plane and fly away!

The tour is lead by people who have really experienced working in the field as a pilot, mechanic, or flight attendant. With each occupation comes a different angle of the story, and that is another reason there are recurring visitors to this tour.
This tour will give you an insight into the airplane that is bound to make you want to go on a trip!






JAL Factory Tour

Tour conducted everyday, four times a day. RSVP via internet.
For persons Elementary school and over. Free of admission.

URL: www.jal.co.jp


毎日1日4回開催。 申し込みはインターネットで。

URL: www.jal.co.jp

writer / YOKO MAEDA
photographer / TOMOHIKO TAGAWA

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