We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

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

The Railway Museum
Ranked #1 of 138 things to do in Saitama
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The Railway Museum was built in Onari, Saitama City as the centerpiece of the JR East 20th Anniversary Memorial Project. This is a railway museum, and it preserves both the physical elements and heritage of railways in Japan and abroad. It also preserves materials relating to JR East and the JNR privatization reforms. The Railway Museum also conducts research and development. This is a historical museum that tells the industrial history of the development of the railway system while introducing the historical background of each period with displays of actual models. It is also an educational museum. Children can learn about and experience railway principles, systems, and the latest technologies (including future plans) through models, simulations, and play equipment.
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

1  Thank travellinjenna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (556)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

90 - 94 of 557 reviews

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.

Thank inner_city_resident
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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).

1  Thank David-IrvineCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2012 via mobile

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.

1  Thank TokyoNeil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2011

THE MUSEUM:
The Railway Museum is the successor museum to the old Transportation Museum that used to be located in Akihabara, Tokyo (now closed).

The museum has many many trains and displays covering the history of Japanese railways to the present. Present are some of the first locomotives used in Japan, Imperial coaches used by the Emperor and imperial family throughout history, the 0 series Shinkansen, and many many more trains.

There are also many hands on things for young and older folks alike, though many items like the train simulator are in Japanese, it doesn't take much to figure out how to operate them. There's even a mini train ride where you can operate a miniature train that goes on a track around the museum.

Of course like all places, there's a gift shop and restaurants/cafeteria in the museum as well.

The museum has a provided English guide map and pamphlet that explains in general what all the attractions are. The cool thing about the displays is that if you have a mobile phone that can read bar-codes, you can put your phone over the bar-code on the display and you can get very detailed English information about the particular display/train. This is also possible for Korean and Chinese language.

Because of it's distance north of Tokyo, I only recommend this museum to those who are really interested in railways, Japanese transportation history. Longer term residents with families might also enjoy this museum as well. If you are a short-term visitor to Tokyo, this museum might be a little out of the way north to get to, but if you are interested and have the time, by all means visit.

GETTING THERE:
The Railway Museum is located north of Tokyo in Saitama. It takes about 45minutes by train from Shinjuku to Omiya station on the Saikyo Line or Shonan Shinjuku Line where you change to a small people mover to the museum train stop, it takes about 55minutes if you are coming in from Tokyo Station.

The one way fare from Shinjuku Station to Omiya Station is 450yen and from Omiya Station to the Museum Stop is 180yen. Note if you are using a Japan Rail Pass, the JR pass is valid on JR lines to Omiya Station. You still need to pay 180 yen from Omiya station to the museum.

ADMISSION:
The admission price for adults is 1000yen.
For elementary through high school students it is 500yen
For kids younger it is 200yen

The ticketing system is designed to work with your Suica / Pasmo prepaid card (if you have one), if you do not have one, you can purchase a temporary card at the machines. You use your card to enter the museum (like how you enter a train station).

6  Thank tokyosubway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed The Railway Museum also viewed

 

Been to The Railway Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing