Best for your Kid’s Science Project : The airplane workshop tour at Haneda (ANA Version)

Hi everyone.
It’s your dedicated navigator, Kato. Do you remember our last article, in which we discovered the JAL factory tour at Haneda Airport? Well, there’s more: Haneda isn’t just home to JAL’s workshop, but also to ANA’s, which you can visit too.
Just like JAL’s workshop visit, the ANA workshop tour is highly ranked on Tripadvisor and other travel websites. This time too, I personally went to visit, so I’ll be able to tell you the ins and outs of the experience. It’s a great option for your summer holiday, so read on!
Let’s go to the ANA workshop tour!
The ANA workshop tour is a 15-minute walk from the Tokyo Monorail Shin-Seibijō Station, in the ‘ANA Components Maintenance Building’. There are no parking spaces or bicycle parking lots, so please use the train (for individuals) or bus (tour groups) to get to the site.
Wow, the roof of the building entrance looks like the wing of a plane! It’s a fun way to start the tour. Once inside, you’ll see a counter - this is the reception where you can check-in for your tour. When checking in, you’ll need a copy of your entry code and some form of valid ID. Please don’t forget to bring these. Once you’ve finished the procedures, you’ll be given a proper entry card, which you can keep as a souvenir.
*The entry code will be send by email if applying online, and to your address if applying by phone.
The ANA workshop tour takes 90 minutes, and is split into two main components. In the first 45 minutes, you’ll get an explanation of the aircraft and mechanics, and in the latter 45 minutes, you’ll actually get to tour the hangar.

After you’ve checked in at the reception, head straight to the lecture hall to listen to the ANA information session!
During this session, you’ll mainly get to learn about the different types of ANA planes and their functions through lots of graphics. What really struck me during this explanation was the large amount of special livery and paint jobs they use for the aircraft.
Pokémon Jet (Shutterstock)
One of the most representative examples of ANA’s special livery is their Pokémon Jet. This jet was in service for 18 years from June 1998, and was emblazoned with popular characters from the Pokémon franchise. The plane was used on both domestic and international routes, and surely made a lot of children all across the world happy!
Hello 2020 Jet (Shutterstock)
During the explanation, we also learnt about the new livery created for the Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Games, the “Hello 2020 Jet” (Boeing 777-200ER type). For this design, there were over 20,000 entries, and a middle school student in his senior year got to pick the winning design. The name is supposed to highlight the three core concepts for Tokyo 2020 Games, such as “Achieving Your Personal Best”, “Unity in Diversity”, and “Connecting to Tomorrow”, and lets passengers look forward to the upcoming Games. After that explanation, it’s clear that ANA is certainly enthusiastic about the 2020 Games!
ANA Blue’s Flying Honu (Shutterstock)
After that, you also get an explanation about the latest in the ANA fleet, the A380 “Flying Honu”, which went into service on May 24, 2019! It’s the largest passenger plane in ANA’s fleet, with space for 520 seats and a rare two floors. There are also a few seats which have a leg rest that can be pulled upwards to create a bed the size of three or four seats. Luxurious indeed.
The name is a nod to Hawaii, with ‘honu’ meaning sea turtle in the Hawaiian language. The animal is said to be a sacred being, and if you see one, then luck and longevity will come your way. Hence, the plane’s name has the sense of a flying sea turtle - surely something that will bring you luck, and a little hidden message to those flying to Hawaii for their holidays.
The design of Flying Honu comes in three colours, all with a different meaning linked to Hawaii: ANA’s typical ‘sky’ blue, emerald green for the sea, and sunset orange to represent the sunset. I certainly liked this idea of being able to show passengers the best of Hawaii, and the thought that went into all of this.
*The emerald green will go into service next, while the sunset orange will start service at a later date
Souvenir stickers
During the information session, there was also a quiz! The quiz consisted of two questions, and if you got both correct, you could win a special Flying Honu sticker. Good luck with the quiz!

That concludes the information session - let’s head to the hangar!
Safety first, though! As with the JAL tour, you’re required to wear a safety helmet when entering the hangar during the ANA tour. The helmets here come in five colours, and the colour denotes which group you’re in. They come embossed with an ANA logo too.
Now, let’s go to the hangar!
First up, we’ll visit the aircraft hangar from the upper floor!
The ANA maintenance hangar actually consists of two hangars: the first with space for seven planes, and the second with space for three. We visited the first hangar. Inside, it’s much larger than you could possibly imagine, and according to the guide, you could fit around 1.8 Tokyo Domes into it. All types of ANA aircraft come and go into the hangar, so you can really see the difference between the larger and mid-sized airplanes here.
During the tour, you’ll get to see real mechanics working on the planes during maintenance! ANA has around 4500 mechanics in total, with around 900 of them working in 24-hour shifts at Haneda Airport.
Now, let me give you some tips to make the tour even more impressive. There are two points you should notice. First, the helmets of the mechanics. It turns out that the ANA helmets aren’t just for safety, but also that they signify which area or at which level someone is working, by the difference in colour or logo.
The second thing is whether the mechanic has a badge on their right arm, and what kind of badge. Only those with a certain amount of knowledge and those higher up on the career ladder have a special badge. The insignia range from Professional and Meister to the very special Group Meister, which only seven people currently have. Depending on the badge, the responsibilities - and pride - go up exponentially.
The fact you can easily see who is higher up in the pecking order and what their speciality is just by looking at their helmet and badge is very interesting.
Now, let’s head on to the lower floor!
Brake pads
Once you’ve descended to the lower floor, you’ll be able to see various components lined up, such as the brake pads, which are part of the tyre brakes, and jacks used to prop up the plane. It’s a truly unique experience to see these components which are usually hidden.
Jack
And then comes the bit which I remember most from the entire tour: a close-up look of a real plane. During the ANA tour, you can come so close you can virtually touch the airplane!
You can even stand next to the real plane engine! Here, we’ve taken a shot standing next to it, so you can really get a sense of its true size.
And now, here’s a quick quiz for you, dear reader.
At Haneda Airport’s ANA hangar, mechanics use a Boeing 737-500 type plane as their designated training aircraft. This is the plane type that is primarily used for domestic flights in Japan, but was retired in May 2018. The engine used to have an animal motif, and many plane fans loved it.

So, what type of animal is painted onto the engine? Choose from the three options below:

1. Whale 2. Dolphin 3. Orca

Any guesses?

And the answer is....

2, Dolphin!
The ANA technical training B737-500 plane even has a nickname, “Super Dolphin”. ANA is the first aviation company in Japan to use a retired jet as a training aircraft. I could really feel the special nature of this plane, having brought joy to many passengers, and now bringing more joy and purpose to the new mechanics.
Now, a quick piece of advice if you’re on the tour.
Although it’s easy to become engrossed with all the planes in the hangar, don’t forget to lift your eyes a bit and look outside: you can see straight towards the runway! It’s only about 100m from the runway. Now that’s something that doesn’t happen every day.
Once you’re all done and satisfied with the hangar tour, you’ll also get a small, original ANA souvenir! I got a clear Flying Honu pouch. It’s the perfect size to put in a smartphone or some pens.
*The souvenir received may differ depending on the tour taken
Once the official tour is over, you can take some time to take photos in the lobby and browse the exhibition area. There’s plenty to see here which you wouldn’t find elsewhere either.
The exhibition area in particular has plenty of great photo opportunities, but here I’d like to show you my four favourites.
The first spot is the image of a Boeing 787, right at the entrance of the exhibition area. The same helmets used during the tour are kept here too, so you can pose at leisure with a helmet on your head and the signature ANA plane motif in the back.
The second spot is the Gundam statue corner, done ANA-style. In 2010, ANA and Gundam did a collaboration, known as ANA x Gundam Sky Project, the result of which was this statue. Gundam fans in particular should be sure to get a shot here.
My third recommended spot is the Boeing 787-8 type business class seat experience section. Here, you are allowed to not just sit in the chair, but to actually try out the functions such as the tray table, reclining your seat and more. It’s the cheapest way to experience a business class seat!
Finally, spot number four is the cockpit area, close to the reception counter. Here, you can try your hand at shifting gears and breaking. The cockpit has three seats, so it’s a great photo opportunity with friends too! The seat on the left in particular is the flight commander’s seat, so sitting here will definitely make you feel like a true pilot.
Cockpit
Pilot’s seat
Don’t forget to get your hands on some limited edition ANA goods!
At the site of the ANA tour, you can also buy some official ANA products. The shop is close to the building entrance, so do stop by on your way out. There are several things that you can only buy here, so it’s a must for true aviation fans.
Details:
・Address: 3-5-4 Haneda Kuko, Ota-ku, Tokyo, 144-0041
・Tour outline: Information session (45 min) + hangar tour (45 min)
・Tel: 03-6700-2222
・Reception opening hours: Mon-Fri 9.30am-5pm (closed Sat, Sun & hols)
・Available: 4 times per day
*Closed during New Year’s holidays

・Session times:
Mon-Fri (no tours Sat, Sun, hols, & New Years holidays. Please note that some days tours may not run depending on the company requirements)
1st session 9.30am-11am / 2nd session 11am-12.30pm
3rd session 1.30pm-3pm / 4th session 3pm-4.30pm

*Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the start of the tour.
*Please note that the tour may be cancelled without prior notice due to laws & ordinances, local government requests, airline safety demands, bad weather, illness, force majeure or other company issues.

・Reservations: via internet, phone
- If applying online
Reservations open at 9.30am 6 months in advance for your preferred day, and close 3 working days before your preferred date.

- If applying by phone
Reservations open at 9.30am, 5 months in advance for your preferred day (if the exact day isn’t on the calendar, the last day of the month), and close a week before your preferred date. To confirm the reservation, an entry code will be sent.
*Internet reservations open a month earlier than reservations by phone.

・Tour capacity: 1-80 people (reservation mandatory)
・Age limit
Elementary school aged students and over (those younger will not be permitted to enter the building)
*Elementary school students must be accompanied by an adult.
Please prepare valid ID so staff can verify the age of the children.
・Tour fee: free

On the day
An entry code will be sent after registration to confirm your reservation. Please print it out and bring it on the day.
*Staff reserve the right to decline participants who have been drinking alcohol prior to the tour
*Those participants looking to join for commercial gain or those looking to obtain goods for prizes may be refused entry.
How about that? The ANA workshop tour certainly is different compared to the JAL tour, and there’s no doubt it’s a great way to spend a summer’s day. Reserve in advance to have a sky-high experience!