MRJ Museum near Nagoya Komaki airport combines several exhibits related to the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (now known as the SpaceJet) and a tour of its final assembly facility.
Together with Boeing’s tour in Everett and Airbus’ tour in Toulouse, it’s one of the three publicly accessible airliner factory tours in the world.
Access, Opening Hours & Entrance Fees
The MRJ Museum is located inside the MRJ factory, across the street from Nagoya Komaki airport. However, you can’t just show up there.
Instead, you have to go to Aichi Museum of Flight which is about a 15-minute walk from the airport. There are also direct buses from Nagoya station to the museum.
Once at Aichi Museum of Flight, you can find a check-in area for the MRJ Museum tours on its second floor, next to the ticket counters. A few minutes before your tour starts, you will be guided into a bus that will drive you to the MRJ Museum itself.
Currently, there are six daily tours (excl. Tuesday) with two additional ones held on weekends and national holidays. You can check the latest tour schedule – and book your tour – on the museum’s website.
Keep in mind that there’s only one daily English tour with the rest being done in Japanese.
Since the guide provides interesting explanations throughout the 90-minute tour, I recommend choosing the English one if you don’t speak Japanese. That said, if only a Japanese tour works with your schedule, I still recommend taking it.
You have to book and pay for your tour in advance.
The admission fees are as follows:
- Adults: 1,000 yen (about 10 dollars)
- High school and university students: 800 yen (about 8 dollars)
- Elementary and junior high school students: 500 yen (about 5 dollars)
- Pre-school children: Not admitted
Discounted tickets that combine admission to the MRJ Museum and Aichi Museum of Flight are available as well. If you have the time to spare, I highly recommend visiting both.
MRJ Museum Exhibits
Once you get off the bus in front of the MRJ Museum, you will be provided with brief instructions and handed an audio device so that you will be able to hear your guide better. You will be instructed to place all of your electronics in a locker, and then the tour will start.
Unfortunately, taking photos during the tour is not allowed.
The first part of the experience consists of a guided tour of an exhibition hall that introduces various aspects of MRJ’s production. It takes about an hour and consists of the following exhibits:
- Theater: A brief 5- or so minute video about MRJ’s production is screened here.
- Full scale MRJ mock-up: A 1:1 mock-up of both the exterior as well as the cockpit and cabin of the MRJ.
- Flight mapping: MRJ’s flight demonstrated using a scale model and projection mapping.
- Parts of a test aircraft: Parts from an actual test aircraft including large part of the wing and of the vertical stabilizer (tail).
- Full scale engine and pylon mock-up: A wooden mock-up of the engine and pylon that was used to test fit during wing production.
- Testing: One of the models that was used in wind tunnel testing, and a short video about the tests the aircraft had to go through to date.
- 360-degree views of the factory: A tablet with 360-degree images of various parts of the production floor.
- Parts: A variety of different MRJ parts including lights, etc., on display.
- Distribution network: A mock-up of MRJ’s logistical network explaining the flow of materials and parts up to the point where the aircraft leaves the assembly hall.
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries: A set of panes showing the history and present of the whole Mitsubishi Heavy Industries group.
Personally, I found the full-scale mockup, the mock-up of the engine and pylon, and the actual wing to be the most interesting out of the various exhibits.
MRJ Museum Factory Tour
After a tour of the exhibits, a visit to the actual assembly hangar followed.
While – understandably – it is not possible to visit the assembly floor itself, there is a glassed observation terrace that gives excellent views of the whole hangar.
At the time of my visit, there were four aircraft in the body assembly part of the hangar – two that seemed to be almost completely assembled and two fuselages waiting to be fitted with wings and other parts.
There was also one aircraft in the interior-fitting part of the factory. The body of that one was fully assembled, and it was in the process of being equipped with avionics, and so on.
Currently, the aircraft that are being assembled are on fixed stands. Going forwards, however, Mitsubishi plans to increase production from one aircraft a month to ten, and to install a moving assembly line.
What you will see during this part of the tour will highly depend on when you visit. Sometimes there might be four or five aircraft in the process of being built while other times there might be none. Especially now, before the aircraft enters into actual serial production.
MRJ Museum Lobby & Gift Shop
The tour ends where it starts – in the lobby.
This is the only part of the museum where photos can be taken.
There are two large wall-sized photos of the MRJ that visitors can take photos with, and there are a couple of MRJ-related items – like a scale model and the uniform of one of the aircraft’s test pilots – on display.
Besides that, there is a gift shop with a variety of MRJ and MRJ Museum-themed items on sale, as well as a vending machines that besides dispensing drinks also takes photos with MRJ background.
After about ten minutes in the lobby area, the tour ends with a bus ride back to Aichi Museum of Flight.
If you know a thing or two about aircraft, you might find the beginning of the tour a bit slow. However, as the tour progresses, it gets more and more interesting – with a visit to the actual assembly hangar being by far its biggest highlight.
While the production facility is fairly small compared to those of Airbus or Boeing, it is still a fascinating place to tour. And, once the MRJ production ramps up, the tour will get even more interesting.
As such, if you ever find yourself in Nagoya with some time to spare, I can only highly recommend paying the MRJ Museum a visit.