Since 2009 we travel to Japan yearly in April (skipping only 2011 because of the Tsunami). Due to realignments of several major JASDF units we decided to alter our signature itinerary and add a few bases in the north (Misawa and Matsushima) again and skip a few, now less interesting, in the far south (Kanoya and Nyutabaru).
On Saturday 15 April 2017 all 9 participants of the 4Aviation Japan tour met at Schiphol at the well-known meeting point where everyone received their boarding pass for the flight to Narita. Bag drop and security were efficient so we were well in time for boarding a KLM-Asia triple-7 that would take us to Tokyo.
We landed at Narita on schedule (Sunday 16 April). The landing formalities went smooth and even all bags arrived. Very quickly we found ourselves at the rental car agency. After completion of the paperwork, a quick lecture on operation of Japanese GPS’es and loading of the vans, we set off for our first destination of the day: Kasuminome. This Japanese Army base had their annual open house on this date. Only issue is that these days tend to end around the middle of the afternoon and Kasuminome is not exactly next door to Narita. Luckily for us traffic was light and around 13:45 we arrived at the base, in time to catch the static before all was packed away. It turned out to be a nice, low key event where we were allowed to stay near the active platform to watch and photograph the visiting helicopters depart. A good start of the tour! After Kasuminome we continued our journey further north as Monday we planned to visit Misawa. After a second couple of hours of toll-road all travellers were very happy to reach the hotel and catch up with much needed rest.