By Carole Goldsmith Copyright © 2012 - 2013 All Rights Reserved
If you are a techno head like me and want to know about how Japan's products are made, then Japan industrial tours will be an important part of your trip to Japan.
The good news is that many of these industrial tours are free to attend, although most require you to make a booking in advance. In that way, you will also know what time to turn up for the tour. .
Some of the most exciting times I have had in Japan is while visiting industrial tours. I have spent hours on a guided tours and then examined everything there was to see in the company's museum after the tour.
Funny things that have happened to me on a Japan industrial tours
There have been funny things that happened to me while going on an industrial tour in Japan.
At one manufacturing site where I was on tour, I asked the guide if their robots ever made mistakes. She said to me with a smile - "No robots never make mistakes". At that very minute, one of the robots had a chair in its gigantic arms and instead of placing the chair where it should, the chair was flung across the manufacturing area and landed on the floor.
JNTO has a great list of Japan's industries across Japan, that you can visit,some with English speaking guides and some without.
see http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/rtg/pdf/pg-803.pdf This list covers automobile manufacturing, electronics, sweets, breweries and distillery, cosmetics, newspaper publishing, stock exchange, broadcasting, ceramics, banking, fish market, traditional industries.
There many more industry tours or industry museums that are not listed on that PDF. When you visit a city ask the local tourist office if the city has any industry tours and climb aboard - or ring / email for a booking.
One of my favorites which is not on the list is the Toyota Automobile Museum in Nagoya. http://www.toyota.co.jp/Museum/english/c02_01.html . It provides a fascinating insight into the history of Japan's largest company, Toyota. Starting out as a weaving company, you can see the weaving machines and the transition of the company to a global leader in automobile manufacturing.
Another favourite of mine is the Panasonic Corporate center showroom in Osaka http://panasonic.net/center/osaka/
I spent a whole afternoon there in 2012, checking out all the latest Panasonic products, watching DVDs on the company's movie cinemas and testing out the fantastic sound system. You can touch electrical products and see how they work. This techno addict had a very interesting day, trying it all out and being assisted by the ever helpful Panasonic ladies. There was even an environmental quiz and you get a prize at the end.
kidsweb Economy and Industry
http://web-japan.org/kidsweb/explore/economy/index.html - where children can learn about this topic with quizzes and lots of fun interesting things to do.