Since opened in 2016, Kyoto Railway Museum shows popularity as the big sightseeing spot of Kyoto.
As Sagano Line “Umekoji-Kyotonishi Station” just in front of the museum was newly opened, it gathers more and more attention!
Moreover, multilingual service started in March 2019.
Let me introduce the recommended information and how to enjoy the Kyoto Railway Museum for those, not to mention, who are railway fan, but also those who say “I have never been to the railway museum!”, to read.
Multilingual Service in Kyoto Railway Museum
In addition to newly opened station near the museum, a service that provides explanations in multiple languages has started from March 16, 2019.
This is also the reason why Kyoto Railway Museum gathers attention.
By reading the QR code with app called “Kokoshiru”, you can select the language and read the explanation.
The service supports English, Chinese(Simplified / Traditional) and Korean.
You can download the app from URL below.
Fun to Visit Kyoto Railway Museum Even If You are Not a Railway Fan
Everyone of all ages can enjoy.
Deeply connected with people’s life is a “railway”.
The railway museums, packed with history and exhibits of such railways, exist many all over the Japan, and show popularity among all ages.
Among them, what we like to introduce this time is “Kyoto Railway Museum”, which is proudly the one of the largest scales in Japan!
Kyoto Railway Museum opened in April, 2016, as in the form of constructing a new exhibition hall next to the Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum that was originally at the location, and 53 vehicles, including locomotives and bullet trains, are collected.
Not only it is the place where you can learn the railway history that is very deep and continued from the locomotive period, but also there are many must-see points that make you excited unconsciously even if you are not a railway fan, including popular simulators, a huge railways diorama, and an observation terrace viewing a superb landscape.
Kyoto Railway Museum is where everyone can enjoy, such as families, of course, photo geeks, and also the one who is travelling alone.
Must-see Points of Kyoto Railway Museum
The required hours to observe the museum are about from two hours to a half day.
Because must-see points are packed in the wide museum, it is highly possible that you will be short of time when you notice…
So, let me introduce the must-see points “that cannot be missed at least”.
The Important Cultural Treasure! Huge Roundhouse Platform
Lined up locomotives in a row are masterpiece
The most symbolic spot of Kyoto Railway Museum is after all the Roundhouse platform!
For the purpose of storing vehicles in space-saving way, it is designed in the form of opened fan.
This roundhouse made of reinforced concrete is actually the oldest in Japan among these still existing.
There are 20 locomotives are stored and exhibited in this roundhouse platform, and when seeing them close in front of your eyes, you will see a big body and driving wheels spectacular.
“D51” that is popular among railway fan is also of course complete the lineups.
By the way, 4 locomotives among them are attached with ladders, so you can actually observe the driver’s seat.
When you know that they were operating this big locomotive in a narrow space where only about two adults could enter, you will be moved…!
You can see the state of repairing!
The car shed number 1 to 7 are the places for repair.
These are still used in active services by now, and the shed entrances a bit blackened are impressive.
It is said that here Kyoto Railway Museum is the only museum where actually repairs at inside.
It is valuable that you can see the vehicles under repair and the working postures of JR staff in front of your eyes, isn’t it?!
The vehicle bodies that you can see are different by time when you visit, so it is possible that you can see the rare vehicle body under repair.
It can also be said that it is the must-see point for railway fans.
Besides the car shed, you can also see the state of repairing also at “Steam Locomotive No. 2 Service Shed”, located in the museum ground.
Railway Diorama is More Enjoyable with an Explanation
A small world expanding beyond the glass
The railway diorama is the must thing as things to see in the railway museum.
Located on the second floor of the main building, the huge diorama is a size of about 30 meters wide and about 10 meters deep, and beyond the glass, there run models railroad of about 1/80 scale of real vehicles.
In the model, you can also see the appearance of “the roundhouse platform” of Kyoto Railway Museum!
By the way, it is said that for the purpose of seeing the models railroad better, the models building are made in about 1/150 size.
This railway diorama, which is reproduced very closely, is worth to see.
It is more enjoyable with an explanation.
Although the models can be observed at anytime freely, there are diorama shows that can be seen with staff’s explanation held five times a day (when crowded held also a special show), and it is about 15 minutes long per one show.
Sitting on lined-up long bench facing the glass, you can enjoy watching the diorama as if you watch the stage.
For more information visit official web site.
It is a space where about 270 people can enter including standing area, but the seats seemed almost fully occupied mainly with families even in the afternoon of a weekday.
According to a staff, said that the shows at 11AM and 4PM are relatively not crowded, so please try joining with adjusting well your time.
Can Stay all Day! The Sky Terrace of Kyoto Railway Museum
The old Capital and the railway: A dream collaboration!
The popular open air observation deck “the Sky Terrace” is also the must-see!
From this spacious terrace, you can view a dream collaboration that is made of the railways that are lined up all around on the ground as far as you view, the five story pagoda of Toji Temple that is the World Cultural Heritage, and Kyoto Tower.
It is exactly the view that you can look over only here in “Kyoto”.
Because the museum cares for children, for that very reason the fences are set lower.
As there is no obstruction in a field of vision, you can fully enjoy the superb view.
As trains, such as the Bullet Train, JR Kyoto Line, and JR Sagano Line, cross one after another, you may as well not be bored even if you stay there for all day long!
You can track them at real time!
A big equipment placed in the Sky Terrace.
It is actually called “Train Position Information System”, and it is the equipment that you can see the information of the train coming next at real time.
Essentially, it is for station attendants and train crews to confirm, and it is the superb machine, with which you can see the detailed information like “A train of XX-car composition, bound for XX, is coming to Kyoto station”
While confirming the operation information with a side glance, you watch the actual running trains…
That also is one of the how to enjoy at the Sky Terrace.
Following the History and Transition of the Railways
“Look, touch, and experience” is the concept.
In the open ceiling space on the ground floor of main building, there are lined up huge exhibit vehicles, and this is what you can say as scene of “railway museum”.
Based with the concept of “Look, touch, and experience“, the exhibits, with which you can learn the structure of vehicles, are gathered here.
There are many mechanisms that not only children but adults can enjoy, including elevated displays, where you can peep under the vehicles that you cannot see usually, and the equipment that enables you to actually move a pantograph.
Once you know the depth of railways, you may be able to see the trains, which you usually ride on, in a different angle!
The locomotive of mass production type first in Japan was born in Osaka.
Exhibits designated as national importance cultural treasures
A corner where you can learn the history of railway is also fulfilled.
Exhibited on the ground floor of main building, the retro and cute vehicle is the first domestic mass-produced steam locomotive “230-233”.
This locomotive is designated as the national important cultural treasure in 2016.
When you think back to endeavors and hardships of the predecessors, who developed railway culture of Japan, you will be moved much…
Through the photos and movies as well as the real exhibits, you can learn the transition of railways, which continues until today since the invention of locomotives.
Time Travelling to Ages of the Showa
Where is here?
This space, which is like you traveled back in time to ages of the Showa, is also actually the one of the exhibits located on the ground floor of main building.
A station building and platform of decades of the Showa 30 to 40(1955 to 1965) are reproduced, so you will be excited unconsciously even if you are not a railway fan!
Those who thinks this retro space as “nostalgic”, as well as those who feel it as “just like a shooting location of movies”, please take a wonderful photo here for sure.
The signboard designs on the front car are also must-sees
Round marks lined up on walls on the ground floor of main building are the signboard designs on the front car that can also be said as “faces” of the trains.
These are the decorative signboards to be attached to the front of cars.
There is also the mark of the sleeper train Twilight Express that was regrettably retired.
The marks are decorated related to each nickname of the trains, and these are very cute even for eyes of an amateur.
Though your eyes tend to be caught with vehicles exhibited inside the museum, please pay your attention to the walls by lifting up a bit your eyes.
Experiences of Kyoto Railway Museum, Must-sees for Families
One of the charms of railway museums is experience corner.
Although there are many experience type exhibits around the inside of museum, let me introduce this time by picking up to the classic popular “Driving simulator” and “Steam Locomotive Boarding”.
Driving on the Simulator That is Just Like “Real”
Chances depend on your luck
Popular driving simulators are of ticket drawing system.
Firstly, you get the “drawing ticket” that is distributed on the second floor of main building.
The results of drawing are announced several times a day of the designated times, and for those who splendidly won the drawing, “numbered tickets”, which are described the time and contents of experience (conventional trains or bullet trains), will be distributed.
Then, let’s go to the “driving simulator” corner on the second floor of main building at the designated time.
After received a simple explanation, let’s start experiencing!
By the way, it is said that the average odds on weekdays are about 2 to 3 times, and are about 5 to 6 times during weekends and busy periods.
The simulators that you can experience are 8 units in total including 6 units of conventional trains and 2 units of bullet trains.
In short, the one who can experience the bullet trains is limited only to Mr. very lucky even among winners of drawing!
As the simulator is the one that is actually used for training of drivers, you can experience driving as close as reality.
Also, as there is also a rental uniform, let’s wear them on this chance, and let’s try driving experience and memorial photo shooting.
It is much more difficult than it looks.
You could experience from departing to parking between stations, but it is very hard task to park the train at the designated position by gradually decreasing the speed well.
If you made an overrun, it cannot be irreversible, so you will be required very exquisite adjustment.
Experiencing time is for 10 minutes.
By the way, conditions, including time and weather, in which you can experience driving, are randomly reproduced by a computer, so it may be possible that you drive in a bad eye sight, including in snow and at night.
The states, including landscape while running and how passengers are waiting on the platform, are very real and interesting, so you will be very excited as “Hmm, this is very fun….!”.
When you visited to the museum, please by all means try challenging the simulator drawing.
The Only Museum Where Locomotives are in Service Every Day
Appearance of black smoke blowing up is full impact!
What we wish to take a special note along with the simulator is “Steam Locomotive Boarding” that you can ride at an outdoor locomotive square.
Because you can ride on retro passengers cars towed by the real steam locomotive, it is popular mainly among families.
It is said that here Kyoto Railway Museum is the only museum in Japan, where the steam locomotives are in service any day of a week.
You will understand the real value of steam locomotives by not just seeing, by but also actually riding.
If you get close, soot may cover you.
Such sightscape that black smoke rising up is much full impact.
When becomes the departure time, a big whistle echoes, and it goes proceeding slowly for about 10 minutes on a round trip distance of 1 km
By the way, there are fares separate from the museum admission, which are 300 Yen for adults, high school and college students, and 100 Yen for junior high and elementary school students and toddlers.
Please buy tickets in advance at the steam locomotive boarding place!
Restaurants and Souvenirs in Kyoto Railway Museum
Kyoto Railway Museum is fulfilled not only with exhibits inside of the museum, but also with gourmets and souvenirs.
Satisfied your appetite, getting souvenirs of full of good senses as your memory, let’s go home after fully enjoyed without reserve!
Dining While Viewing Running Trains
You are lucky if you can sit on the window side
A restaurant located on the second floor of main building is a style of food court.
Dining area is spacious space, and there landscape of “railways”, which can be viewed from seats at the window side, is worth to pay attention.
From here, trains departing from and arriving Kyoto station, including Tokaido Shinkansen Bullet train, JR Kyoto Line, and Sagano Line, can be viewed very well.
It is so popular that the seats will be occupied soon, regardless weekdays or holidays!
By the way, you can bring your own foods in the restaurant.
As you can bring at ease your own snacks, which you brought from home, not just lunchboxes that are sold at the shop and in a dining car, it is a good sense of consideration for families with small children.
As it opens anytime even other than lunch time, it is very convenient when you wish to have a short break during observation of the museum.
Not just railway related menus
The menus related with railways that should be in a railway museum are must-sees.
Among them, it is said that the classic popular menu is “Doctor Yellow Hayashi Rice (rice with hashed beef)”, replicated that train that is said that “when you see it you will be happy”.
Spaghetti meat sauce with cheese that looks alike railways is also cute.
Besides, there are also lunch sets and noodles that look like heavy-weight enough to eat.
Moreover, the lunchbox of the bullet train shape that you can buy at a dining car or lunch box selling booth is also required checking.
Many Original Goods
Admirable and abundant line-ups of goods!
Finishing off the museum is the museum shop.
After walking around inside of the museum, and after charmed completely by the depth of railways, there are many goods lined up related to railways, which you unconsciously wish to bring home.
There are many attractive goods are packed and lined up in a spacious area of the shop, and among them, the recommendation is collaboration goods of Kyoto specialty and railway.
You can get the “Kyoto souvenirs” of superb senses that you cannot buy in another, including Tsukudani of Kyoto and Yatsuhashi (a type of sweet made with bean paste and cinnamon seasoned).
Besides, there are many other miscellaneous goods that make children and ladies happy, so your wallet becomes loose…
Among a bit rare items, it is said that “a plastic bottle opener of brake handle shape” is popular.
When you wind the handle after attached an opener to a lid of plastic bottle of soda, you will hear the sound like braking!
It is said that you can enjoy feeling just like driving trains.
This goods that, during the period, once so popular that it was often sold out, is also an original limited to Kyoto Railway Museum.
“Exit” of the last is also a point to see.
This building that is the exit of museum where “Museum shop” is located in is quite different retro appearance from the main building.
Actually, built in the Meiji 37, this building is “the former Nijo station house”, and it is also Kyoto City designated tangible cultural treasure.
Kyoto Railway Museum is packed with points to see until the very last moment.
You cannot miss!
* You can enter to the museum shop inside of the former Nijo station house without an admission ticket.
How Did You Like It?
Kyoto Railway Museum is full of points to see.
Once you visit, you may be charmed with attraction of railways?
Next time you visit to Kyoto, please try going also to Kyoto Railway Museum.
Address: 600-8835: Kankijicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto City
Opening hours: 10AM to 5:30PM (Last admission at 5PM)
Holiday: Every Wednesday, around the New Year’s Day, and others
Admission: General admission 1,200 Yen, Junior high and elementary school students 500 Yen, etc