The amazing scenery of the Space Center was enough to make me whisper to myself, "This place is more like a beautiful garden than a Space Center."

I had expected it to be a futuristic facility cluttered with all of Japan's cutting edge technology.
What I found, instead, was a pleasant surprise.

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Inside the Center, you are treated to a better view of the sapphire ocean and manicured landscape than anywhere else on the island.
Its reputation as the "most beautiful launchpad in the world" was not just self-promotional advertising.
I realized that because of this, even someone with no interest in space would enjoy visiting just for the view.

After I finished gawking, it was time to enjoy the long-awaited Space Museum.
Every inch is covered in aerospace objects, from rockets, to engines, satellites, space food, and more.

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Honestly, I was beside myself.
I stared intently, trying to digest each and every exhibit.

Even then, there was still something more thrilling waiting for me.
The Center tour lets you go inside areas that are normally off limits, like the system control tower and the rocket launchpad.

Stepping into a white building that truly had the aura of being "off limits," we came upon the H-II rocket from flight no. 7.
I was treated to a first-hand experience of an actual aerospace rocket.

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The tour guide informed us, "The engine of a jumbo jet weighs approximately seven tons.
The large engine on the very bottom of this rocket, however, is about two tons.
So, it seems small in comparison, but a rocket like this generates nearly four times the thrust of a jumbo jet."

She continued, "If you were to hop on a vehicle equipped with this engine, you could speed from Tokyo to Osaka in just one minute."

Was that really true? One minute!
It was such a casual way to mention something so astounding.
The experience of listening to these fascinating facts while standing before the rocket itself was euphoric.

From the blues and greens of the landscape to the Space Museum, and now the tour, I had been transported back to a child-like dream state since stepping onto the Space Center property.

I enjoyed a day of fantasy on Tanegashima.

Space Museum
(Tanegashima Space Center)
Note: Center tours require prior reservations.

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