The one place that every fan of this incredible technology should try visiting could not be anywhere else but in Japan. The Maglev Exhibition Center is located in the Yamanashi Prefecture, and you might have already guessed it, it is right where the Yamanashi test track is. The museum is adjacent to the testing facility where the latest iterations of the high-speed maglev trains are undergoing rigid testing each day. They travel approximately 1996 kilometers (1240 miles) per day on average at the speed of 500 km/h (311 mph).
Can I Take a Ride On The Maglev?
The good news is that yes. The bad news is that only if you are Japanese or if you hold a Japanese passport. The local government decided to give a chance to the Japanese people to experience the future before anyone else. The test ride has a top speed of 500 km/h (311 mph) and over 117,000 people were lucky enough to have tried it.
Watch Maglev Trains Passing By
Definitely the biggest attraction that is available for all guests and it's without reservation is to observe the L0 Series SCMaglev passing by right in front of the building at such speeds that you will have a hard time following it with your eyes. It takes place in the Observation Lounge, where you can sip your favorite drink while watching the maglev trains doing their daily test runs.
What Else Can You Do In The Museum?
This interactive maglev museum has plenty to offer. You can get familiar with the technical ingenuities and study the superconductivity and the Linear Chuo Shinkansen mechanisms. Learn about the next-generation vehicles and see the history of the past over 50 years of all the previous models on digital screens and on small-scale models. There are interactive games that showcase how the technology works, and in the theater, you can experience how going at over 500 km/h feels like if you were sitting on the nose of the maglev train. Trying the miniature but fully-functioning maglev is a fun ride and the icing on the cake is a full-size JR–Maglev MLX01-3 train that held the world record speed in 2003 (581 km/h or 361 mph). You can go around it and see how the passenger compartment looks inside. Once you have seen it all, you can buy some maglev merchandise in the shop before leaving.
Getting There, Opening Times and Ticket Price
Ticket Price: 420 yen (~4 USD)
Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Location: 2381 Ogatayama, Tsuru, Yamanashi 402-0006, Japan
Getting there: From Tokyo, it takes about 2 hours to get there. If you take the train, you have to exit at the Otsuki Station on the JR Chuo Line. Change to the Fujikyuko Line and get off at the third station called Kasei Station. From here it's just about 13 minutes walk to the entrance of the museum. Alternatively, if you change trains in Tokyo at the Shinjuku station then you will arrive at the Chuodo Ogatayama station and you will only have the walking part left.