With over 50 historic train cars on display, the Kyoto Railway Museum is a must-visit for any train enthusiast. It is also an amazingly kid-friendly museum with many hands-on and interactive activities that will delight the inquisitive child.
The Kyoto Railway Museum was designed to be a hub of railway culture. And, judging by the breadth of its exhibits and different facets of trains that it covers, we would say that it has succeeded in achieving this goal.
The museum explores the history of trains and rewards visitors with a touch, look and visit experience.
Entering the museum, you will come to the Promenade. Here, trains are on display as if at a railway station. Sharing the tracks are trains like C62-26 steam locomotive and the 0 Series 21-1 Shinkansen.
Story continues below
Visitors can even enter and dine inside a train where a food & beverage outlet is located.
Past the Promenade, you will enter the two-storey building where the indoor exhibits are housed.
Level One: All About Trains
On Level One, you can learn about the history and advances in the railway.
Trains are displayed, along with information panels that cover the development of the railways.
A section of the first floor showcase how trains and railway systems are produced with key components of trains explained. Kids and families can engage in hands-on exhibits to learn about how tracks function, how train coupling systems work and more.
A section of the first floor of the Kyoto Railway Museum is devoted to Railway Facilities and features a working Railway Crossing which kids can experience for themselves.
There is even a maintenance vehicle which kids can ride on.
Level Two: Interactive Fun At The Museum
Level Two of the Kyoto Railway Museum is filled with even more interactive exhibits.
Kids can try operating model trains to learn about railway safety systems.
A huge Railway Diorama provides an engaging look in miniature of how an entire train network operates. Watch as model trains make their way around the busy rail network, with various lines criss-crossing around the landscape.
At the Let’s Ride the Train section, kids can simulate purchasing tickets and going through a train station gate. It is a fun way for kids to experience what it is like to independently purchase a ticket for themselves and make their way through the turnstiles. Parents can accompany them or look on from the “station control room”.
There is also a train simulator for big kids to live out their dreams of being a train driver. To have a go at the train simulator, you need to enter a “lottery” and hope that you get chosen.
Other facilities on Level Two of the Kyoto Railway Museum include Kids Park, a play area for younger children, and a restaurant with a view of the neighbouring, operational railway tracks. It is great fun to watch as the trains roll by while having a meal. Trainspotting at its best!
Out to the Roundhouse
From the second floor, you can head out to the Roundhouse Platform.
Here, there are 20 steam locomotives on display in sheds, facing the spinning turntable which is used to turn them around.
By the time you exit the Kyoto Railway Museum from the Former Niho Station House, you would have definitely have had your fill of diesel trains, steam trains, electric trains and all manner of train-related systems.
The Kyoto Railway Museum is a great museum to visit while in Kyoto, especially with kids. There is plenty to see and do and the interactive exhibits are both fun and educational.
Kyoto Railway Museum, Japan
Where: Kankijicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8835, Japan