Kyoto Railway Museum

Kyoto Railway Museum: Hours, Address, Kyoto Railway Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

Kyoto Railway Museum
Speciality Museums
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10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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The area
Neighborhood: Shimogyo-ku
Shimogyo-ku is centered around the busy train hub, Kyoto Station. A nexus for commerce, shopping, dining, and hotels, the Shimogyo-ku area is infused with tourists and local business travelers, making it a competitive location for ever-new commercial structures. The shops and cafes here are chic and trendy, as a result, with many recognizable chains. Commuters flood the Shimogyo-ku area twice a day, and with Kyoto Station itself being a modern mega-complex and an architectural marvel, this neighborhood is one of the most contemporary and energetic areas that the city has to offer. Buildings here look futuristic, and huge department stores, shopping arcades, and public meeting spaces provide every possible convenience. It is also nearly the only place in Kyoto where rooftop dining and socializing is available, completing its modern tone.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

696 reviews
Very good

Nishinomiya, Japan1,108 contributions
Apr 2022
Japan has three major railway museums. Nagoya highlights Shinkansen, Saitama does a good job with history. This museum really emphasizes how a train and steam engines work. They break down the train into its components and explain each part in detail. Including things like how the ticket machines work.

Located across the parking lot from the Umekōji-Kyōtonishi Station. Easily accessible from Kyoto Station. This used to be the steam locomotive museum until it merged with the Osaka Railway Museum a few years ago and was rebranded as the Kyoto Railway Museum.

On the same property, there is an actual train roundhouse, full of different model trains that you can go inside.

There is an actual working steam locomotive for an extra 300 yen, you can ride for about 10 minutes. You are warned, that if the winds are right, you will get a mouthful of soot.

The actual main building has representations for all the major types of trains currently running, including the bullet train but the cool bits are at the back of the building where each component is broken down and displayed with working models. The electrical guides, the wheels, the engine design, and the power couplings. You can wander through the cab and even push the emergency stop button.

The 2F has a huge train diorama with shows. This is worth watching. There are many activities for children on this floor. An interesting activity that seemed popular for children was the train conductor simulator. There are also historical exhibits on this floor.

If there is a complaint to make about this museum is the relative lack of food options. There is a restaurant on the 2F, today the lineup was so long it was discouraging. There is a bento kiosk at the beginning of the tour near the entryway but they also were running out of food by 12:30 pm. There should be another option. Lots of vending machines.

Because this is a JR-sponsored facility, they ONLY accept CASH or the ICOCA card as payment. Credit cards or other forms of cashless payments are not available.

If you are a train buff, you need to go. If you are even a little interested in trains, it's worth coming. Well designed for children. Your kids will love this place.

As an older adult, I loved it.
Written April 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ebina, Japan504 contributions
Sep 2021
Fantastic and very well organized. Changed a lot since my last visit in 2007 and they added a new building
Written September 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tirion T
1 contribution
Jul 2021
A fine museum with excellent modern facilities.
We ate lunch in the busy restaurant. The menu was very limited and not of restaurant quality. It reminded me of a school canteen. Not really what one expects at a major tourist attraction.
It was wonderful to see and hear a couple of large steam locomotives puffing up and down a bit.
Unfortunately, however, most of the exhibits failed to come alive for me. Especially with regard to the rolling stock in the roundhouse, not much information is provided. The locomotives there were plastered with “Do Not Climb” notices but no other information as far as I could see. The roundhouse felt quite dead - a collection of deceased locomotives. No information about each locomotive’s history - not even their age - or anything else to help bring their stories alive, no audio-visuals. The museum has a fine collection of rolling stock; but the museum fails to use its collection to communicate anything. In the roundhouse, it just felt like the museum had not tried, which is a shame.
Another reason the exhibits failed to come alive is that I neither speak nor read Japanese and such information as was provided was nearly all in Japanese, apart from a token line of English here and there. This is an almost universal problem in Japan; but a collection of this quality will be of interest to international visitors and needs to be communicated to us/them.
An audio guide would have been useful, but we were not made aware of one, if it exists.
We had a quick look around and then left, overall rather disappointed.
Written July 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Damien H
15 contributions
Nov 2020
This museum shows the history of rail in Japan. It has a very comprehensive collection of railway memorabilia. A lot of hands-on things for the kids to experiment with. Many steam locomotives which you can get on and see the workings of. There is also a steam locomotive trip you can take, however, the whole experience lasts about 10 minutes so quite short. The only problem I had was that all the information on the displays is in Japanese. You can get an English leaflet to guide you but the information is very basic.
Written March 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

muhammad rizal f
Jakarta, Indonesia61 contributions
Dec 2020
great museum, offer information about historical japan rail way from steam train to shinkansen, the first shinkansen also displayed here. many apparatus of the real train part also displayed here to show how it works.
good places for kid to learn about train.

it is better if full explanation also available in English. some only offer title in English but explanation using Japanese.

i came during covid-19 pandemic, so not all experience is available.
Written December 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

coco h
122 contributions
Aug 2019 • Family
Adults can have fun & learn about trains,operation too
Quite big place
I’m not into train but I loved
Written July 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Oscar Lee
Sydney, Australia5 contributions
Dec 2019
Having visited both the Railway Museum in Saitama and Kyoto Railway Museum in the same trip, I would say the Kyoto one offers much better experience to non-rail fanatics, as the interactive displays there did a better job in introducing the different aspects of railway operations. Not only the train driving simulators that appeal to train operator wannabes, but also the "backend" operations like ticket booking. For instance, you can print your own magnetic ticket from a real ticket machine used in JR stations and put it into a fully-functional turnstile, where the image of a steam locomotive will be printed on the ticket for your collection. It is this attention to details that made the Japanese society tick.

The roundhouse is also very impressive and the steam locomotive ride is certainly a highlight in my trip to Japan.
Written March 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Philip in Oxford
Oxford, UK437 contributions
Feb 2020 • Friends
If you like trains then this is an exceptional museum. Loads to see inside and out. Steam through to bullet all are here.

History, excellent and well laid out exhibits covering the history and engineering.

Some trains you can walk in, others are on show.

Take a trip out to the old station and loco shed and see a number of operating steam trains.

The cafe has views over some of the busiest tracks in Kyoto so worth a coffee and watch the trains go by.
Written February 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tony B.
Auburn, CA3 contributions
Feb 2020
Wish I'd had more time.
Even though there's not a whole lot of English support, I still found it very interesting.
Written February 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gordon D
3 contributions
Feb 2020
Travelling with my wife and 11 year old grandson, I thought this would be a bit of a ho-hum collection of trains and train-spotters. How wrong I was. A collection of exhibits and interactive activities on an impressive scale, you don’t need to be a train fanatic to enjoy this one. Don’t miss the diorama (imagine a model train set with 2.7 km of track), the chance to let one of the kids drive a Shinkansen simulator at 270kph, or the extraordinary collection of heavy-duty engineering marvels. Staff are super helpful and friendly. A must see if travelling with kids.
Written February 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Kyoto Railway Museum

Kyoto Railway Museum is open:
  • Thu - Tue 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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