Kyoto Railway Museum. Credit: mendhak. Licensed under CC. Modified.
Attractions, Kansai, Kyoto

Kyoto railway museum

Kyoto Railway Museum is a modern train museum where visitors can learn about the development of the train network in Japan, and how it contributed to the country’s modernization.

Kyoto Railway Museum opened in 2016 right in the middle of the historic city of Kyoto. With 53 full-size trains on display, train lovers will need several hours to explore this amazing museum. The museums collection of trains span the entire historic range of the Japanese railway history, from steam locomotives to modern Shinkansen bullet trains. There is even a section of JR’s service rail line which passes through the museum so visitors can see a variety of trains coming through for service. Entrance to the museum is ¥1200 (2019).

On the museums first floor are all the trains, spread across four areas: the Main Building, the Twilight Plaza, the Promenade and the Roundhouse. The main building has a section on the advances of the railway, the vehicle structure and a section on general railway facilities. The twilight plaza has 6 beautiful trains on display. In the long hall of the museums promenade section, one can see 9 different trains, including a full 0-series train – Japans first bullet train. In the roundhouse, with a train turntable in the middle, visitors can walk around between the 20 historic steam locomotives the museum has on display.

The 0-series train was the first Shinkansen bullet train to run on the highspeed line between Tokyo and Osaka in 1964. This train type remained in operation until 2008.

On the museums second floor are various train related attractions, including Japans largest train diorama, along with train simulators and other activities for children and enthusiasts alike. On the third floor is an observation deck called “Sky Terrace” where there is an excellent view of the nearby train lines. It’s a great place to observe the passing Shinkansen trains.

Turntable and roundhouse at Kyoto Railway Museum. Credit: Kzaral. Licensed under CC. Original modified.
Turntable and roundhouse at Kyoto Railway Museum. Credit: Kzaral. Licensed under CC. Original modified.

Nijo old Station Building

In front of the roundhouse, just near the entrance and exit, is the old Nijo Station House. The over 100 year old wooden station building was relocated from Nijo station to the musem. Nijo Station House is a beautiful example of an early 1900’s Japanese station building. They don’t make them like that anymore, do they?

Old Nijo Station Building at Kyoto Railway Museum. Credit: Cheng-en Cheng. Licensed under CC.

Getting there

By train: the nearest train station is Umekoji-Kyotonishi Station. The JR San-In line stops here. The walk to the museum from the station is a few minutes. The JR San-In line is covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

By City Bus: from Kyoto Station (stop B3), take bus 205 or 208 to “Umekoji Koen/JR Umekoji-Kyotonishi-eki-mae bus stop“. From here it’s about a 3 minute walk to the museum. Alternatively, one can take route 104 or 110 to “Umekoji-koen/Kyoto Railway Museum-mae bus stop“. On weekends route 86 and 88 are available.

By Keihan Bus: from Kyoto Station (stop C2), take route 2, 14, 15, 26, 26B or 28A to “Umekoji Koen/JR Umekoji-Kyotonishi-eki-mae bus stop“.
From here it’s about a 3 minute walk to the museum.

Cover photo credit: mendhak. Licensed under CC. Original modified.

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