Earlier, I had written about the Tetsudo Hakubutsukan (鉄道博物館)/ The Railway Museum) located in Saitama City. Operated by the East Japan Railway Culture Foundation, it is the largest railway museum in Japan. Today, I would like to introduce you to another amazing railway museum. It is one of Japan’s three great railway museums alongside The Railway Museum in Saitama and JR Central’s SCMAGLEV and Railway Park in Nagoya.
Located in Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, the Kyoto Tetsudo Hakubutsukan (京都鉄道博物館/Kyoto Railway Museum) opened to the public on April 29, 2016. It sits on the former site of the Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum, which came into existence in 1972. The museum is owned by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) and is operated by the Transportation Culture Promotion Foundation.
Covering an area of 30,000 square meters, the museum is divided into several exhibition areas, including a 20-track roundhouse built in 1914 and the Nijo Station Building, relocated from the nearby Nijo Station in 1997. The exhibits include 53 retired trains, ranging from early steam locomotives to more recent electric trains and a shinkansen (bullet train). Many of the exhibits were inherited from the Modern Transportation Museum in Osaka which has since closed. Visitors will also find displays with railway uniforms, tools and other railway related items from the past. The museum is home to one of the largest railway dioramas found in Japan. It contains miniature trains which crisscross an intricately detailed landscape , all operated by a single skilled machinist. There are also a variety of interactive exhibits enabling visitors to drive a train via a simulator or perform the duties of a train conductor. The museum even has a restaurant located on the second floor where patrons can glimpse nice views of the passing trains along the JR Kyoto Line and the Tokaido Shinkansen. For an additional fee of ¥300, visitors can take a one kilometer journey on a train powered by a steam locomotive. The typical journey lasts approximately ten minutes.
Located only 20 minutes on foot from Kyoto Station, the Kyoto Railway Museum affords the ideal opportunity for visitors to appreciate Japan’s steps toward modernization through its railway history.
The museum is open daily between the hours of 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM. (Closed on Wednesdays and from December 30 to January 1.)
Web page: http://www.kyotorailwaymuseum.jp/en/