Aug. 14, 2020 UPDATE
Story & Recommendation
Enjoy Japanese train history first hand
The Kyoto Railway Museum offers a wide range of experiences to learn about Japan’s railway history. It reopened in 2016 on the premises where the Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum was originally located. Since the theme of the museum is for visitors to learn the history of rail in Japan through five exhibitions, there are a lot of entertaining attractions in the museum, such as getting on an actual steam locomotive, taking photos of the former Nijo station building, and more. On the other hand, they are planning to develop some more fascinating attractions so you can enjoy the museum every time you visit. There are no airports or harbors in Kyoto city, so the railway became the core transportation among Kyoto's locals. So how about adding the museum to your itinerary as it’s close to Kyoto station?
Some historical Japanese trains are exhibited based on three categories, from the first floor to the third floor. On the path called promenade in French, between the entrance and the square, there is the setting of a train platform where you can walk and look through the exhibited trains. These lines are still active in Japan, but the train models as well their interiors have been renewed. So it is a very good opportunity to ride some old style trains. As some restaurants and a rest area are available on the second floor, please take a break there and then resume your visit!
The sky terrace is a train viewing spot. There is an observatory area with some seasonal flowers on a part of the third floor. Trains, including JR Kyoto Line and Tokaido Shinkansen (the bullet train), run past the museum. Enjoy seeing both the model and the actual trains from this floor! Rail fans will definitely be satisfied with this scenery.
Get On a Steam Locomotive
The departure bell of the steam locomotive sounds frequently, and the train actually runs with you! The train garage was still under construction when we went and will made it so that visitors can watch the steam locomotive from a pedestrian path in the future.
Former Nijo Station
The former Nijo station used to be the oldest wooden station platform in Japan. Getting a photo of what it looked like is a really good idea. There is a museum shop inside the building and a variety of goods related to many Japanese trains are sold. Why not get some souvenirs of Japan!