If you’ve never shaken off your childhood fascination with planes or just enjoy seeing fighter jets scream overhead, definitely include the Misawa Air Base Festival in your Japanese itinerary for September. This is also one of the few chances your average ordinary civilian will get to visit a working air force base—Misawa Air Base, on the banks of Lake Ogawara in Aomori, is home to the US Air Force 35th Fighter Wing and the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force 3rd Fighter Wing Force.
Attracting about 100,000 visitors a year, the Misawa Air Base Festival includes aerial displays, maneuvers, aircraft displays, flybys, music and food stands. With this sort of pull, the Air Base Festival is northern Japan’s biggest air show, so it is best to take the train up to the region, and book accommodation in advance. The Misawa Air Base is military property, so there are security procedures at the gate. The Base is also vast; luckily, a shuttle bus runs between the parking lots and cost between ¥500 and ¥1,000 per round-trip. Stock up on sunscreen and comfortable shoes, and go get in touch with your inner aerosexual.