An Afternoon Trip to Kitanomaru Science Museum

Kitanomaru Science museum is around 900 meters away from the Kudanshita station.  Our kids were insisting for some kind of entertainment cum learning outing for the Saturday, which was the first day of the first sanrenkyuu (3 consecutive holidays) of 2017. We started at around 1 pm from home. Kudanshita is the 11th stop for us from Higashi Ojima. Exit No 4 is the nearest Deguchi (exit) to our destination since we decided to walk from the station. We saw a police box (koban) at the left when came out of the exit.

We followed the route shown by the google maps and reached to the museum, which is located inside the Kitanomarukoen (park). The entrance to the museum is on the ground floor and there is an information counter at the left side of the front door. 

We paid 720 Yen for adult and 260 Yen for our kids, that made a total of 1960 Yen. For middle and high school students (中学生、高校生), the ticket charge is 410 Yen. If you plan to go as a group of 20 and above the tickets cost 520 Yen for adult,310 for middle and high schooler and 210 Yen for kids above 4 years and up to middle school.

The ticketing staff told the museum has the floor guide instruction leaflet in Japanese language only. You can participate and understand many interactive learning sessions that the museum conducts if you know the Japanese language. One such learning session we missed was about computer aided design. 

Our kids found the museum very interesting since they could learn many new things and clearly understand many scientific principles of phenomena that they already learned at the school. Unfortunately, very few words are written in English. One of the staffs demonstrated the principles of magnetism and explained it in English to our kids. 

There is a parking area near to the museum. The building has a restaurant at the basement B1, with a seating capacity of 250 and opens at 11 in the morning through 4 in the evening. The ground floor or the first floor has the reception (information desk), Ticket counter, Museum shop and public telephone booth.  Lift facility and wheelchair facilities are available. Museum displays and interactive models are displayed from 2nd floor to the 5th floor.

On the second floor, we saw a vast collection of old bicycles that are chronologically arranged in demarcated areas to protect from visitors. We saw the history of bicycle, displays of Gear and brake system  etc. One section named “Mono Dukurium”, which is a room for making things, shows CAD aided manufacturing, CNC models, 3D printers, 3D scanner that shows body images on a computer screen, Robot working principle, demo models ti compare the friction of tyres of car, Screw puzzles by George Hart, Two part bagel, Twisted Tours, Four-part cube, Cube puzzles, Pythagoras puzzles of different shapes, S Matsumura’s picture puzzle etc. Another interesting display was SCARA (selective compliance assembly Robot arm) using Yamaha motors.

The Waku Eco Motor-land displays Zero emission technology by Nissan. At the entrance of the motor land, we could see Lithium-ion battery module and Lithium-ion battery cell. Kids could experience the effect of collision when driving on the road. For children under 130cm height, this gives a virtual experience. The videos showed different situations of dangerous driving and taught how to avoid dangerous situations. “Winding road driving car and bike” section has a bike, which we can drive by seeing the road on the screen that teaches the importance of reducing the speed on curves. Children could learn safe driving practices. One of the displays showed car mechanism and motorcycle mechanism. Principles of Engine, suspension, transmission and brake systems, Steering differential gear, muffler, SRS airbag etc are explained in Japanese in this section.

Video of car manufacturing and factory tour assembly process was also a different learning experience not only for the kids but also for us. A static model of the car showing internal parts is good for both kids and adults to understand what happens when driving. That is named as a hybrid skeleton car. It has the functions of the stop, start and slow speed driving, normal speed driving, high-speed driving and braking and stopping. 

Kids enjoyed virtual driving of a truck for 3 minutes on winding road by seeing on a front screen. The course will take the truck to a warehouse. Near to this truck, there is a working model of an engine to learn the mechanism of engine and cylinder.

The 3rd floor has attractions such as Atomic station Geo lab, different sources of energy and methods of electricity generation. Information about natural energy sources is particularly useful to kids. A chart shows the ranking of first three countries based on their production and or availability of natural resources.

For Natural gas, Iran tops with 18%, Russia with 17% and Qatar with 13%.
Coal is more available in the USA (27%), then comes Russia (18%) and China (13%).
Uranium ore: Australia 29%, Kazakhstan 12%, Russia 9%.
Petroleum: Venezuela 18%, Saudi 16% and Canada 10%.

The knowledge that today’s fossil fuel was created by the decomposition of creatures lived 360 million years ago was exciting to our kids. The Nuclear energy section has an interesting comparison that says 1kg Uranium is equivalent 100,000 kg of coal.

Models of stones from where rare earth elements can be extracted are also displayed in glass cages. There is also a model showing Geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste.

The Global warming section describes causes and effects of global warming. Bulgaria Yogurt laboratory of Dr.Bulgaria sponsored by Meiji gives scientific knowledge about yogurts. Electro hall Auroral science displays many working models of acoustic and aural phenomena One large model at the front shows similarities between television and auroral signals. Denki factory displays models of an electrical heater, bulb, Voice changer where children can convert mechanical energy to electric energy. The staff explained and demonstrated the principles of Magnetic properties of different materials.

Medicine laboratory on the third floor has a chart chemical formula of Tacrolimus at the front and a chart showing the new medicines contributed by Japan to the world such as Abilify, Prograf, Benicar, Invokamet, Leuplin, Vesicare, Latupa, Crestor, Actemra, Prevacid, Blopress, Myrbetriq and so on.

The 4th floor displays materials, vehicles, and tools required for constructing buildings, tunnels etc. The earthquake protection system was under repair when we visited. There are models of Cranes, movers, and Wind protection system. One section displays various models of metal ores, which is named ‘Metal factory’. The ‘Future scope’ section has modern scientific products such as Hybrid assistive limb, Mental commit robot, Communication robot, Rescue robot, Security robot, Nursing care and welfare robots, Receptionist robot, Service robots assisting humans and industry, Mapping and new energy future 

The 5th floor has a house model and simulated the effects of the earthquake. It also has Interactive learning tools to understand mechanics. One section is dedicated to Mechanics gears pendulums wheels, Trick-pedal, and Gear wrestling. The last section we visited has a set of mirrors that creates multiple images. One of the mirror displays a question “how many images can you create?” and kids enjoyed looking at the light well.

Our kids thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Kitanomaru science museum. We finished our learning trip at 5 pm.

Author: Jayaprakash

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