Saitama City is home to the largest railway museum in the country. Opened to the public in October of 2007, the three-story, 28,200 square meter museum is Japan’s leading railway historical museum run by the East Japan Railway Culture Foundation. The museum exhibits, researches and studies the materials relating to the rail system in Japan and abroad. Visitors can learn the history and the structure of railways through interactive exhibits, view previously used train cars and learn about operating trains via the use of simulators. The museum features approximately 30 railway cars, numerous train cab simulators, mini trains, video booths, two restaurants, a museum shop and a research room.
When you enter the museum through the main entrance, you will find the world’s only steam locomotive simulator (additional charge of ¥500; reservations required) just to the left of the entrance. The first floor of the museum consists of the Teppaku Library, a Park Zone with miniature operational trains for the kids, the main museum shop, the NRE Restaurant, the Simulator Hall and the Teppaku Playground. The highlight of the first floor is the History Zone which contains several historic carriages and engines, including old Imperial carriages, Meiji era steam trains, the reconstructed Shimbashi Station when it first opened in the 19th century, an early series shinkansen, freight trains and historic electric and diesel locomotives.
The second level includes the Learning Zone, the Collection Zone featuring another library and a collection of Japan railway memorabilia including station signs, uniforms and photographs, a Kid’s Space, another museum shop and restaurant. The main feature of the second level is the Railway Model Diorama, the largest in Japan.
The third floor has a viewing deck and the rooftop features a panorama deck with amazing views of the surrounding area.
Whether you are a train enthusiast or you simply want to learn more about the history of Japan through its railway system, the train museum provides a fun and informative atmosphere for the entire family.
The museum is open daily except Tuesdays from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Admission is ¥1,000 for adults and ¥500 for junior high school students. Children ages 3 years and up are admitted for ¥200.
One of the simulators