(c) Kyoto Railway Museum

Your Guide to the Kyoto Railway Museum, Right Near Kyoto Station

The Kyoto Railway Museum, which is located near JR Kyoto Station, has recently been a hot topic in Japan. It is a spot where you can learn about and experience Japan’s railway systems, as well as buy as a souvenir. Here is your ultimate guide on this museum!

What is the Kyoto Railway Museum?

The Kyoto Railway Museum is a railway museum that opened to the public in 2016. There are 53 trains on display here – from steam locomotives to shinkansen (bullet trains) – that will help you learn about the history, safety, and technology of railways. A major draw of this museum is that instead of just looking at the exhibits, there are some exhibits that you can touch, as well as others that will let you experience different things! It is guaranteed to be a lot of fun for everybody, not just for train enthusiasts.

Admission fee: General: 1,200 JPY, University and high school students: 1,000 JPY, Junior high school and elementary school students: 500 JPY, Children (3 years and older): 200 JPY (incl. tax)

(c) Kyoto Railway Museum

What is the Kyoto Railway Museum?

Kankiji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto


If you plan to walk there, the museum is about 20 minutes on foot to the west from the central gate of JR Kyoto Station. By city bus, it is around a 10-minute ride on routes 205 or 208, and then an approximately 3-minute walk after getting off at the Umekoji Park bus stop. You can also take Express Bus Routes 103, 104, and 110, as well as the 86 and 88 that only operate on weekends and holidays.

See and Enjoy!

A Collection of Historically Significant Trains!

The museum showcases a variety of historically valuable railway cars. This ranges from trains that symbolize the eras when they ran, such as the C62 Steam Locomotive and the 0 Series Shinkansen, up to the sleeper express train, Twilight Express, that just retired from service in 2015. Another must-see feature of the museum is the roundhouse platform. Made from reinforced concrete, it is Japan’s oldest existing train platform! It stores and displays 20 spectacular steam locomotives.

(c) Kyoto Railway Museum

(c) Kyoto Railway Museum

Don't Miss the Railway Diorama!

The impressive Railway Diorama that is operated by the museum staff is also worth seeing. Measuring around 30m wide and about 10m deep, this gigantic diorama is an approximately 1/80 scale reproduction of various facilities that are essential to railways, such as rail yards. You will learn about all the mechanisms of railways through the operation of model trains. There are other highlights, such as the railway vehicle factory that occasionally exhibits railway cars that are currently in service.

(c) Kyoto Railway Museum

You Can Touch Them!

They Look Like Real Stations!

One of the main appeals of this museum is that it allows guests to touch the stations and trains. For instance, if you go to the 2nd floor of the main building, you will get to feel the real vibe of a train station, complete with features like ticket gates. You’ll find both modern and old-fashioned stations on display. You can also learn about the differences between the purposes and jobs of stations today and in the past.

(c) Kyoto Railway Museum

Learn Through Touch!

On the 1st floor of the main building, there are many different displays to enjoy, such as showings of gears that transmit power, and even those that show couplers that connect railcars. You can learn about the mechanisms that make railcars move by experiencing exactly how it is done. The platform of a train station has also been reproduced, so you also will be taught about various safety measures that are in place at actual stations.

(c) Kyoto Railway Museum

Try Them!

Ride the Steam Locomotive!

If you visit this museum, you have to try the interactive exhibit that features an SL (steam locomotive). At this famous spot in the museum, you can ride on a passenger car that is pulled by a real steam locomotive. You’ll get to experience the feeling of riding a retro steam railcar over a 1km stretch, back and forth.

Fare: General, university, and high school students: 300 JPY, Junior high and elementary school students and children (3 years and older): 100 JPY

(c) Kyoto Railway Museum

Try to Drive Along Real Routes!

The Driving Simulator is an exhibit that will let you experience being a train driver with the help of a simulator that is used for training. You will learn about the work of train drivers from different angles through means like using the tools for driving and wearing an actual driver’s uniform.
You can gain other unique experiences inside this museum, including operating a large-scale train model and working a railroad bicycle that is used for jobs such as inspecting the tracks.

※ The driving simulator requires a boarding ticket that is won through a lottery.

(c) Kyoto Railway Museum

Aside from the spots featured in this article, the Kyoto Railway Museum also houses a museum shop that sells railway-related merchandise and a restaurant that offers a unique menu inspired by railways. Try to visit this museum at least once!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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