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Ehime Prefectural Science Museum

Edutaining exhibits in a fascinating modernistic building.

Ehime Prefectural Science Museum

The Ehime Prefectural Science Museum stands in the foothills of Mt. Ishizuchi in Niihama, next to the Matsuyama Expressway. It was established in 1994 as a facility presenting scientific knowledge including natural history, the environment, biology, astronomy, industry, and technology through hands-on experience.

The modernistic building, designed by architect Kurokawa Kishō, features simple geometric shapes in a variety of materials. The planetarium, which was the world’s largest until 2010, is housed in a geodesic dome in a reflecting pool. You enter the museum through a huge cone of glass and steel. A spiral walkway around the cone provides access to the various floors. It also offers views over Niihama and Saijō.

A lift takes you up to the fourth floor, with exhibits related to Nature, divided into three zones, Space, Earth, and Ehime. Exhibits include well-made dioramas, information panels, stuffed animals, skeletons, minerals, replicas of this and that, and even two robotic dinosaurs which come to life at fifteen-minute intervals, roaring and making awful grimaces. The third floor is dedicated to Science, with zones for the Elements, Life, Transmission, and Movement. The laws of science are explained with many entertaining hands-on displays. There’s also an Industry of Ehime section on this floor, divided into Traditional and Core. There’s a full-sized Botchan Train and a real Formula 3000 racing car, amongst other attractive items.

Behind the museum is an outdoor display area, featuring large items of industrial hardware, including a power generation turbine and smelter. With its carefully trimmed lawns and a backdrop of the Akaishi mountain range, it’s a pleasant spot for a picnic.

In addition to the exhibitions, research undertaken at the museum is shared with the public through various educational programs. Although information in English is very sparse, the displays themselves are visually appealing, and with the interactive elements, you can spend a very enjoyable few hours here. The planetarium, which doubles as a cinema, offers a show combining a presentation on the night sky in each season and other edutaining cinematic content, making the museum a rewarding afternoon’s outing.

Information

Name in Japanese: 愛媛県総合科学博物館

Pronunciation: ehimeken sōgō kagaku hakubutsukan

Address: 2133-2 Ojoin, Niihama, Ehime 792-0060

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