On this the 50th anniversary of the Shinkansen (bullet train), October 1st 2014, it seems fitting to introduce one of Saitama’s top attractions.  Japan’s second largest Railway Museum in Omiya,  鉄道博物館. It is known locally as Omiya train museum and as Saitama railway museum nationwide. Whatever you chose to call it is a really good place to visit with a mixed audience.

There really is something for everyone, even if you aren’t “that into” trains. It is particularly a great place for a day out with young children, boys and girls, as there is plenty to do and see.  It is commutable from Tokyo, so it appeals to tourists and international families looking for something to do in the Kanto area with kids.

Saitama Railway Museum

There is so much to say about the Railway museum, but I will try and keep it as concise as possible! One thing I would particularly like to highlight up front is, it is really worth buying the annual pass. Especially if you live in Saitama or Tokyo with young children who are into trains.

Kids / Play areas at the Railway Museum

TEPPAKU HIROBA

The ground floor has two outdoor areas. The Teppaku Hiroba can be accessed at the back of the history zone. They have a nice selection of play equipment for the kids including the popular shinkansen slide. There is also a “lunch train” there; a train that is a rest area, that you are allowed eat food in.

MINI TRAINS and MINI SHINKANSEN

The other outdoor area is to the left of the entrance zone. It boasts the popular mini trains that for 200 yen for upto 3 people, anyone over 6 years of age can operate themselves. However, you need to arrive early in the morning to book them. There is also a mini shinkansen that you can ride. It goes from outside the entrance zone to the library and theatre.

LIBRARY, THEATRE and LEGO PLAY AREA

Past the mini trains is a fun area for smaller children, housing the library with books galore about trains. Moreover, there is a great selection of English books. It also has a theatre which has a couple of showings of Thomas the Tank Engine episodes a day. There is also a play area with blocks and a wooden Thomas the Tank Engine play station in this area too.

Omiya Railway Museum KIDS SPACE

The “kids space” at the Omiya train museum is a play area for smaller children located in the entrance zone of the 2nd floor. It has rail track and trains for the kids to play with as well as a large plastic train for the kids to play in.

Learning Zones

There are learning zones on each floor where there are lots of interactive challenges and experiences for children and adults alike.

Remote controlled train, just one of the many activities in one of the learning zones
Remote controlled train, just one of the many activities in one of the learning zones

The history zone displays a number of period trains including steam trains. You can also enter most of these trains to have a better look.

Trains in the history zone
Trains in the history zone
Inside a train
Inside a train

Model Railway

There is also a large model railway train city on display. It can be viewed from the “Kids space” or a special theatre.

Model train city
Model train city

Other

There is also a panorama deck on the roof, a shinkansen viewing area on the 3rd floor, where you are allowed eat and there are some vending machines. They have a couple of restaurants within the complex. There are toilets on each floor of the train museum. Some have nappy change facilities. It is well worth a visit, no matter your age, or interest in trains… I have run out of steam, if you’ll pardon the pun. But if you would like to see more information or photos, take a look at these great blog posts too:

Saitama Railway Museum Information

URL: Official website
TEL: 048-651-0088

COST: 1000 yen for adults, 500 yen for school children, 200 yen for young children, free for children under 3. You can buy an annual pass, Teppa, for unlimited access and other benefits. Please do check the official website linked above for the most up-to-date prices – I can only update this post periodically.

HOURS: 10am to 6pm, last entry 5.30pm. Closed every Tuesday and from December 29th to January 1st for holidays.

Access

By train: Take the New Shuttle from JR Omiya Station and get off at “Tetsudo-Hakubutsukan Station”. One-minute walk from “Tetsudo-Hakubutsukan Station”. It is just one stop and a 3 minute train ride from Omiya station.

By car: the train museum is four kilometers from Shintoshin exit of the Shuto Expressway. There are 280 parking spaces. It costs 500 yen to park for the day.

Don’t miss: 27 Things to do in Kawagoe with kids in 2020

No Comments

  1. This looks so cool! I want to play on that playground. If Z saw it, I don’t think I could ever make her leave!

    1. Author

      She’d get on well with my lot so! They never want to go home from this place, and we spend the WHOLE day there when we go!! 🙂

    1. Author

      “Next time”; I like the sound of that. 🙂 That is the one problem with Japan; there is actually TOOOOO much to do and see, hard to fit it all in to a couple of trips. Dang, its hard to fit it into a lifetime, but I will try!!

      1. It’s so dense with wonderful sights and experiences! P definitely wants to go again, but especially in winter to the snow. He’s been asking all year since March. We have eventually told him we will think about a return trip in 2016.

        1. Author

          Its very interesting to hear what young children think as visitors. I’m delighted to hear he liked it so much. An exchange in his future perhaps!! 🙂

    1. Author

      Thank you, I liked reading your take on the museum too 🙂

    1. Author

      It will be brilliant when the kids are old enough to do it. I’m holding out till then, so that my son can be the first to operate one. He’s been asking since he was 2!

    1. Author

      Absolutely! I really love this museum, too. Its great day out for everyone.

  2. I wanted to go and forgot about it ! Nice reminder this looks great
    !

    1. Author

      🙂 With so much to do in the Kanto area, its easy to forget some of the places. I hope you get to visit and enjoy it. Have you any favourite places you would like to recommend?

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