Train Museums in Japan – Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka

Train museums were a big hit with the kids during our recent trip to Japan. We visited 3 different railway museums during our travels – the Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum in Kyoto, the Modern Transportation Museum in Osaka, and the Railway Museum in Saitama, outside of Tokyo.

All 3 train museums were fantastic and the kids could have easily spent a full day at any of them.

We typically spent a morning at each museum which was more than enough to see every train and exhibit once. But after we had walked through the entire museum the boys would want to return to their favorite trains, games and presentations that we’d already seen.

Even though we were in Japan during the spring school vacation (of April and March) none of the museums were busy to the point of being unenjoyable. All three museums were spacious and easy to get around.

Here are the kids checking a model train display at the Osaka Modern Transportation Museum. This one was eyes-only but all of the museums had exhibits that kids could interact with.
Model trains at the Osaka train museum

The boys got to “drive” a train through the cities and countryside of Japan. The image in front is moving video and the kids get to control the speed fo the train. It’s actually fairly life like and my kids really liked it.
Test driving the train at the museum

This is a roundabout at the Umekoji Locomotive Museum in Kyoto. It’s surrounded by a collection of really interesting trains. The black steam engine in the distance takes passengers on a short ride a few times per day.The roundabout at the Kyoto train museum

Samuel test driving one of the steam engines in the Kyoto museum.
Playing inside an old steam engine at the train museum in Osaka

Where’s the train? A very cool display of the wheels of a train – minus the body.Entrance to the Saitama railway museum near Tokyo.

A miniature train that kids can ride on at the Railway Museum an hours train ride outside of Tokyo.Miniature train at the railway museum outside of Tokyo.

All of the museums had signs and explanations in English but the Railway Museums documentation and descriptions were really outstanding. This computer terminal shows the different trains on the main floor – all of which are clickable for more information and details.
Guide and map to railway museum in Tokyo

2 questions and comments

  1. AvatarOlesya

    Love your blog! We are from seattle too, and our kids love trains also. Thanks for compiling all this great info

  2. AvatarK.L.

    Our favorite was the Tokyo train museum. The adventure to get there, about an hour from Tokyo and the ride on the new tram, was just the right length. Kate.

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