The JR West Kyoto Railway Museum (京都鉄道博物館), formerly the Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum, was expanded and modernized, and reopened in April 2016. It is the newest and largest railway museum in Japan surpassing JR East`s Omiya Railway museum in Saitama (30 minutes from Shinjuku Station) and JR Central`s SC Maglev and Railway Park in Nagoya. For our three days in Kyoto with kids recommendations check here.
The museum houses 53 retired railway vehicles from a steam locomotive built in 1880 to a 500 series shinkansen built in 1996. Visitors begin their journey by exploring the promenade housing an SL train, Tokaido Shinkansen and the Tokaido Honsen. Towards the center of the platform sits the Na-shi 20 series dining car where visitors can stop-in and order a bento meal. Visitors have the option to walk left towards the massive SL roundhouse platform or go indoors and explore the inner workings of trains and try out the interactive exhibits.
The 1st Floor Main Display Area houses trains, mini dioramas, a working railroad crossing, and interactive displays that will keep your train enthusiasts busy for hours. Little A enjoyed pushing all the buttons on the displays to see how to change tracks, how the electric hangers rise and fall, and he was excited to sit in the drivers seat and play with the controls of a number of train models.
The 2nd floor houses train driving simulators where visitors can experience
using a simulator real train conductors use for training. This is done by lottery. Visitors can wear the driver uniform and hat and try the training simulators when their lottery number is called. There are also free controls to a few working model trains incased in a large diorama. Across from the diorama sits a large, cushioned play area for babies and toddlers as well as a nursing room and nappy changing table. Little ones can set up and play with Playrail trains or play in a plastic train car.
On the far end of the 2nd floor sits a large, detailed Diorama that is 1/80th the scale of actual trains with a sky that changes from morning to night. There is a restaurant located on the 2nd floor with a view of the JR tracks so you can dine while watching a number of trains roll by. Visitors can also lunch on the 3rd floor Sky Terrace which gives an expansive view of the area, mountains and trains.
Outdoors visitors can ride in passenger cars pulled by steam locomotives as
well as view a number of locomotives parked in their roundhouse platform. A 10 minute ride on a real SL steam train costs 300 yen for adults; 100 yen for JHS and under.
– When you first arrive head to the 2nd floor to pick up a lottery ticket for the train simulator. The staff will give you a ticket with a time slot to come back to the line. Explore the museum then come back when your time slot is called.
– Umekoji Park sits outside the train museum. It has a great playground, a walking trail, two train cars to dine and shop in, and is walking distance to the Kyoto Aquarium.
– Couple the Kyoto Railway Museum with a visit to the Kyoto Aquarium (less than a 10 minute walk) and make a day of it.
Kyoto Railway Museum Details:
Address: Kankijicho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto (京都市下京区観喜寺町)
Fees: General admission (18 years and older): 1,200 yen University and high school students: 1,000 yen Junior high and elementary school students: 500 yen Children (3 years and older): 200 yen
Hours: Thursday – Tuesday 10:00 – 17:30 (Last entry 17:00). Every Wednesday (open on holidays) and year-end through New-Year season (12/30 to 1/1).
Access: By Bus: From Kyoto Station Bus stop B3. Approximately 10 minutes on bus route 205 or 208. Get off at Umekoji-koen-mae bus stop and walk for approximately 3 minutes. For Passengers using a Keihan Kyoto Kotsu Bus (Bus stop C2) Approximately 10 minutes on bus route 2, 14, 15, 26, 26B, or 28A. Get off at Umekoji-koen-mae bus stop and walk for approximately 3 minutes.
Kyoto Railway Museum
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