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“For those who love trains, and even those who don't” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Railway Museum

The Railway Museum
3-47 Onari-cho, Omiya-ku, Saitama, Saitama Prefecture 330-0852 , Japan
+81 48-651-0088
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Ranked #1 of 34 Attractions in Saitama
Type: Museums
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Orange County, California
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
“For those who love trains, and even those who don't”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

Full disclosure: I don't really care that much about trains so I thought this museum would be a snooze-fest, but it was actually quite interesting.
The huge display of trains, many of which you can walk through, gives a nice hands-on lesson in the history of trains and their influence on Japan. There is some English signage, but if you have a smartphone you can download the English explanation for most of the displays using the barcodes on the corresponding signs. This was a nice feature, especially if you are interested in the details and intricacies of a particular train (or, for instance, if you have always wondered just how a locomotive works)
If you have already used Japan's railway system, then some displays, especially the newer train cars, will seem rather pointless to walk through. But the older models are rather fun to explore.
There is also a large model train set-up that is popular with the small kids, a room filled with scale models of trains, a collection of simulators (drive a train!) and a outdoor area with train rides, small "trains" you can actually "drive." This was very popular with the littler kids also.
Although I did not eat at the restaurant, it appeared to be fun! There was a wide selection of train-style box lunches. Unlike the ones you can get at a real train station, these appeared to be fresher and better quality. So, if you want to keep with the train theme, eat here.
Naturally I would recommend this place to anyone who is really into trains, but also to families with young children as there is plenty for them to explore and touch. Finally, if you are like me and not really excited by trains, it is worth a couple of hours to take a look and perhaps build an appreciation for the transportation method that makes a trip through Japan easy and fun

Visited May 2013
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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
London
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Good half day for train enthusiasts”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2013

The museum has a collection of locomotives and carriages. Nicely laid out with good explanations in English and a reminder of what a serious transport policy can achieve. There are activities for younger children, such as a miniature train ride, and a room full of train simulators for the older ones. We didn't try the cafeteria but it looks reasonable.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irvine, California USA
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
46 attraction reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
124 helpful votes 124 helpful votes
“Even if you are not that in to trains...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

I like trains, but I wouldn't generally go to a train museum. But, this was our second trip to Japan and my daughter (yes, my daughter) wanted to go. It was interesting. If you are only in Tokyo for a few days this might not make the list, but if you have the time, (you need a half day to get there and see it), it just might make the cut.

So as not to repeat, see the very good english review by Tokyosubway from June 2011, but I would add the following:

- The museum isn't just about the trains themselves (though I learned a lot about them). It is also about the railways in general. I enjoy history and trains play a large part in the Japan of the last 150 years. The museum does a good job of telling that story as you wander through the train cars and view the short videos.
- If you have kids, ride the miniature train (the one at the North end that you drive yourself).
- Drop in on the very large model train set on the second floor. Just sit for a few minutes and watch all the little trains go round and round (I kept expecting someone in a Godzilla suit to walk through and smash all the models ...sorry, I couldn't resist).

Visited May 2013
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Surbiton, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Great for kids or train geeks”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

Very well laid out and equipped railway museum. Around 20 locomotives and carriages you can walk around from Japan's railway past. Plenty for kids, there is an interactive room for them to play/learn in and a playroom with plarail etc for when they get bored. Recommended for parents, we'll definitely return.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tokyo, Japan
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
56 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
245 helpful votes 245 helpful votes
“Good for anyone who are interested in industrial history and trains”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

I have nothing much to add to an excellent review by Tokyosubway-san below.

A nice feature of this place is that some of the relatively newer express train carriages outside are used as resting places where you could bring a station bento box bought at museum stalls to sit down and eat.

At 12:00 and 15:00 the steam locomotive C57 (215 made between 1937-1953) at the center of history zone blows the loud whistle (amazing nostalgic sound) four times and go around the turntable.

I only hope some other remarkable trains of different era would be added here in the future instead of being simply scrapped, although there are already quite a lot exhibited, starting from the very first locomotive No.1 which run between Shimbashi and Yokohama.

I was a bit disappointed that the most powerful steam locomotive D51 (1,200 made between 1935-1950) wasn't on display, except for the one with the sad chopped-off head. Also, they could reproduce all the colorful designed plates used for limited express trains and that would have been fantastic.

Kids would love this place.

Visited September 2012
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