The IEEE History Center's Milestones celebrate technological breakthroughs or turning points, around a number of which the IEEE Life Members Committee (LMC) organizes technology-themed tours. The third tour was to Japan, as described on this page. The information on this page is presented as it was before the tour occurred. It includes a detailed day-by-day itinerary; general travel and tour information; further information about the hotels, local airports, and transportation to and from the major airports; and the Sub-Committee members who planned and led the tour. The tour was planned by the Japan Council History Committee (JCHC) and the Tokyo Life Members Affinity Group (LMAG), with the cooperation of three IEEE Sections in Japan: the Kansai, Nagoya, and Tokyo Sections. The itinerary included visits to the awarded IEEE Milestones, as well as to related museums and cultural heritages in the districts of Nara, Kyoto, Nagoya, Tokyo, and Yokohama. In Japan, there are 14 dedicated IEEE Milestones as of the end of 2010.

The tours are planned with Life members and their companions in mind, and the pace of the tour is set for seniors; however, all IEEE members are welcome.

Day 1 [Arrival Day]: Sunday, 20 May

Welcome to Kyoto

  • Arrange your own air transportation to Japan: the Kansai International Airport located south of Osaka, the nearest international airport to Kyoto, and your own transfer via a limousine bus or an express train to Kyoto station, then a taxi or hotel shuttle bus to the Westin Miyako, Kyoto.
  • After checking in to the hotel, you are requested to stop at the IEEE Japan tour desk to get the tour information and the up-to-date schedule. No events are scheduled. Meals are on your owntime to get acquainted with the hotel and the surrounding area.
Day 2: Monday, 21 May

Sharp Historical Hall and Temples in Nara

  • Group breakfast and official welcome, introductions, and view of the complete tour schedule will start at 7:30 a.m. At 9:00 a.m., the private bus starts for Nara, about one hour's drive to the Sharp, Tenri.
  • Sharp Memorial Technology Hall (IEEE Milestones): Electronic Calculators and Photovoltaic Cells are two significant Sharp Corporation’s achievements honored as IEEE Milestones. This hall, in Sharp’s Tenri City Corporate R&D Center, traces historical highlights and features the latest technology. Instead of spending money on a pavilion at Expo’70 in SENRI, Osaka, Sharp decided to invest to a new R&D Center in Tenri, Nara. This strategy, “not to Senri but to Tenri, established the foundation for the cutting-edge LSI and LCD technology that has made Sharp what it is today.
  • Cultural Heritages in Nara: Nara, the ancient capital of Japan in the 8th century, was awarded as the cultural world heritage, with plenty of famous old temples and shrines.
  • Visit to Todai-ji, known for its "Daibutsu" or Great Buddha, which is the largest wooden structure in the world, and Kofuku-ji, Kasuga-taisya, and Toshodaiji-temple, almost all of which were constructed about 1,300 years ago.
  • Welcome dinner at Japanese restaurant in Kyoto: you can enjoy Maiko dance show. The IEEE Kansai Section and the Japan Council host the welcome dinner.
Day 3: Tuesday, 22 May

Lake Biwa Canal Museum and Heritages in Kyoto

  • Keage Power Station and Lake Biwa Canal Museum: Keage hydroelectric power station started its operation in 1891 as the first hydroelectric power station for electric utility services in Japan utilizing water through Lake Biwa Canal, which was completed the previous year. The first tramcars in Japan ran in Kyoto by electricity generated there in 1895. The classical red brick building constructed in 1912 still remains. The existing power station was constructed in 1936 and has been working until now. You can see the history of the construction of the canal and power station at the Lake Biwa Canal museum nearby.
  • Cultural Heritages in Kyoto: Kyoto had been the capital of Japan for more than thousand years from 791 until 1869. The City of Kyoto was awarded as the Cultural World Heritage, and there are many famous temples and shrines. Among these, you will visit Kinkaku-ji, Kiyomizu-dera, Sanjusangen-do, and Yasaka-jinja.
Day 4: Wednesday, 23 May

Bus trip to Nagoya and Railway Park

  • After breakfast, you will start a two-hour bus trip for Nagoya at 9:00 a.m. and arrive the Railway Park before noon.
  • SCMAGLEV and Railway Park of the Central Japan Railway Co. (IEEE Milestone): it opened on 14 March 2011 as one of the most popular railway museums in Japan. Here you can see exhibits of 39 different types of rolling stock, from steam locomotives to Shinkansen trains and the superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV) train now under development as the next generation. You can also visit the railway diorama, various types of simulators, and history exhibition room, including the story of Shinkansen development.
  • Dinner at Tokugawaen garden restaurant: IEEE Nagoya Section will serve a refined French dinner cooked with Japanese ingredients. You can enjoy the beautiful view of Tokugawaen garden. You will stay at Nagoya Tokyu Hotel.
Day 5: Thursday, 24 May

Yosami Memorial Museum and Toyota Commemorative Museum

  • Breakfast at the hotel, then check-out. Your baggage will be collected by truck to be taken directly to the hotel in Tokyo. After visiting Yosami Museum in the morning and Toyota Museum in the afternoon, you will ride on the Shinkansen train for Tokyo.
  • Yosami Memorial Museum (IEEE Milestone): Preserves the main equipments used in the Yosami Radio Transmitting Station, which established the first wireless communications between Japan and Europe in 1929. You can see the large rotating machines used to generate high power VLF (17.442 kHz) of 500 kW output and the lower portion of an antenna tower, one-tenth in height of the 250m high original tower. The facilities were also used for communicating with submarines by the Imperial Japanese Navy and by the US Navy.
  • TOYOTA Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology: It is located on the site where Sakichi Toyoda, founder of the Toyota Group, established his plant for developing automatic looms in 1911. Its main exhibits consist of two pavilions: textile machinery and automobile manufacturing, accommodated in the original red brick building, one of the historical legacies of the Toyota Group. Visitors can learn the history of the Toyota Group and see the importance of “Making Things” and “The Spirit of being Studious and Creative” through hands-on exhibits and demonstrations.
  • Shinkansen to Tokyo: You will ride on the Shinkansen from Nagoya station to Tokyo station. Please watch the automatic ticket examining system (IEEE Milestone) working. On the train, the first-class seat is prepared for you. Enjoy the full view of Mt. Fuji on the way. You will be at Tokyo station after 103 minutes' ride, then to the Prince Sakura Tower, where you will stay four nights. After checking in to the hotel, you are free to choose dinner at your own time.
Day 6: Friday, 25 May

NHK Museum of Broadcasting and Seiko Institute of Horology

  • Breakfast at your leisure at the hotel, then board the bus for visiting the tour sites.
  • NHK Museum of Broadcasting (IEEE Milestone): Established by NHK in 1956 at Atagoyama, where the first public radio broadcasting in Japan started in 1925. In the museum, you can see the exhibits of IEEE Milestones related to broadcasting technology in Japan including the Yagi-Uda antenna, Takayanagi TV, and direct satellite broadcasting. The museum houses 20,000 items and 7,000 books related to broadcasting.
  • SEIKO Museum (IEEE Milestone): it was established in 1981, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Japanese watch manufacturer SEIKO. It shows a comprehensive collection of epoch making SEIKO watches and clocks, including Japan's first watch and the world's first quartz wristwatch. It also offers a large spectrum of old timepieces ranging from ancient sundials, incense clocks, and European tower clocks. Its Japanese Wadokei collection is one of the largest in the world.
  • Asakusa and cruise dinner: enjoy a visit to Senso-ji in Asakusa, where you can find souvenirs for your family and friends. Then, you will have cruise dinner on the Sumida River.
Day 7: Saturday, 26 May

Toshiba Science Museum and JVC VHS Commemorative Hall

  • Toshiba Science Museum (IEEE Milestone): established in 1961, in commemoration of Toshiba’s 85th anniversary. The museum preserves a lot of  Japan's first products such as the incandescent lamp, motors and generators, radio receivers, radio tubes, etc., as well as the world's first cutting-edge technologies such as the helical scan video tape recorder, automatic postal mail processing equipment, and NAND flash memory. The original product of the Milestone-awarded Japanese word processor also is here.
  • The Electric Power Historical Museum: established by the Tokyo Electric Power Company in 2001, commemorating its 50th anniversary, the museum has been designed to enable visitors to trace the 120-year history of the Japanese electric-power industry. The museum displays some 700 historical items that were actually put to use as electric power equipment. Many objects are made more visible by removing the cover and making a cutout model. It also shows home appliances in the early days, including the works of Thomas Alva Edison.
  • VHS Commemorative Hall (IEEE Milestone): established in 1997 in the site of JVC Yokosuka Plant. In this hall, all the histories of VHS development are displayed, including the early-stage engineering samples. By its basic design and development afterward with adherence to interchangeability, VHS established itself as the world's de facto standard of home video tape recorder.
  • Takayanagi Museum (IEEE Milestone): established in 1986 in Yokosuka Plant, it has a number of collections of Kenjiro Takayanagi, including the restorations of an early cathode ray tube television system developed at Shizuoka University before he moved to JVC. He directed the developments of television and the video tape recorder.
  • On the beach nearby, you can visit the memorial statue of Commodore Perri, who came to Japan in 1853 and contributed to opening Japan to the world.
  • Dinner at a Chinese cuisine restaurant at Yokohama Chinatown.


Day 8: Sunday, 27 May

Edo-Tokyo Museum, Akihabara, and shopping in Ginza

  • Edo Tokyo Museum: Edo is the old name of Tokyo and was the capital of the Tokugawa shogunate until 1868, when the Meiji emperor moved from Kyoto and decided that this would be the new capital of Japan. In this museum, see the history of Edo from the early 17th century and the dramatic change to the modern Tokyo of today. Enjoy the transition shown in the realistic exhibitions.
  • In the afternoon, you will visit the Akihabara electric town and enjoy shopping in Ginza/Nihonbashi street.
  • Farewell dinner: The IEEE Tokyo Section will serve a farewell dinner in an Italian restaurant.


Day 9: Monday, 28 May

End of Tour

  • End of tour after breakfast, goodbye and sayonara.
  • Breakfast at your leisure at the hotel. After breakfast, the tour is officially complete. Depart Tokyo on your own. Narita and Haneda airports are available.
  • Additional nights are optional. Hotel rates will be extended for those wishing to stay a few more days in Tokyo.
Tour inclusions
The price of this tour includes the following:
  • Eight-night accommodation package, including full breakfast
  • Lunch every day and dinners on Days 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8
  • Transportation in accordance with the itinerary from Day 2 to Day 8
  • Qualified English-speaking guide lecturers to accompany the group throughout all organized activities
  •  First-class tickets for Shinkansen train journey from Nagoya to Tokyo on Day 5
  •  Separate baggage truck to take baggage directly from Nagoya to Tokyo on Day 5
  • Admission fees/donations/expenses in connection with visits to places of interest, including: Todai-ji, Kohuku-ji, Kasuga-taisya, Toshodaiji temple, Kinkaku-ji, Kiyomizu-dera, Sanjusangen-do, Yasaka-jinja, Railway Park, Toyota Museum, and Edo-Tokyo Museum
  • All gratuities and out-of-pocket expenses incurred by guides and drivers
  • Consumption tax at 5%