【Kyoto】Kyoto Railway Museum – A mecca for railroad fans, boasting an exhibit of 54 railcars

【Kyoto】Kyoto Railway Museum – A mecca for railroad fans, boasting an exhibit of 54 railcars

I visited the Kyoto Railway Museum, one of the largest railroad museums in Japan, with the theme of “discover, touch, and experience.”

With this visit, we have now visited all three major railway museums in Japan, along with the Railway Museum in Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture, and the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture!

The Kyoto Railway Museum is located a two-minute walk from Umekoji Kyoto Nishi Station on the JR Sagano Line. It is one of the largest railway museums in Japan, and was grand-opened on April 29, 2016 after about seven years of preparation, following the expansion and renovation of its predecessor, the Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum. It is a facility that can be enjoyed by all, from children to adults, as a place that generates excitement, inspiration, and intellectual curiosity. In this issue, we will introduce some of the highlights of the Kyoto Railway Museum.



The first thing that greets visitors as they pass through the entrance is a collection of rolling stock that led the modernization of Japanese railroads, including an SL, a commuter train, a dining car, and a Shinkansen bullet train. The 120-meter-long promenade connecting the entrance and the main building is reminiscent of a station platform, creating an open atmosphere.


The largest passenger steam locomotive in Japan, it was manufactured by converting the boiler of the D52 class, which was used for freight.


This is the first Shinkansen train in the world to operate commercially at 200 km/h. The Kyoto Railway Museum has four cars in its collection, including the two lead cars. The Kyoto Railway Museum has four cars in its collection, including the two lead cars, all of which are the first cars manufactured with the “top number”. It is very valuable that not only one car but also the entire train is preserved!


It appeared as the first long-distance train after the war, and was active on the Tokaido Main Line and Sanyo Main Line.

Twilight Plaza

Twilight Plaza,” located on the left before the entrance to the main building, was built by reusing the roof of the second Kyoto Station Building.


This “ Roundhouse” was also popular at the Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum. In the fan-shaped garage, the oldest existing reinforced concrete structure in Japan, 20 steam locomotives, including 8 dynamically preserved cars (3 in commercial operation), are preserved and exhibited.

© Kyoto Railway Museum
© Kyoto Railway Museum
©Kyoto Railway Museum

Main Building

On the first floor of the main building, representative vehicles of JR West are displayed in the center of the atrium space. Here, visitors can learn about the history of railroads from its birth and development to the present day, as well as the mechanisms of rolling stock.


Japan’s first mass-produced domestic steam locomotive, designed after the British SL, was designated a National Important Cultural Property in 2016.


This train achieved the world’s fastest 300 km/h commercial operation at that time. It is still in use today as the “Kodama” of the Sanyo Shinkansen. (Left photo)

Train mark of express trains of yesteryear. Retro and cute.


The Kyoto Railway Museum has many exhibits where visitors can actually touch and enjoy learning about the workings of the railroad and railway-related items.

It could be an exhibit that shows the role, structure and construction methods of bridges in railroads in a way that is easy for children to understand,

It could be an exhibit that shows how brakes work in an easy-to-understand,

You can actually experience the difference between modern and early Showa era ticket gates,

There are also many other exhibits related to the mechanism of the railroad!


Visitors can board the “The SL Steam,” a hands-on exhibit that was very popular at the full-body Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum, and experience a one-kilometer round-trip steam locomotive trip; experience work on Operating simulator actually used by the driver; and experience railroad safety using a model train.

Please note that tickets must be purchased in advance for the popular driving simulator. Tickets cannot be purchased inside the museum.

If you get hungry, take a break at the restaurant on the second floor of the main building.

Train lovers will be delighted to see many trains coming and going from the windows of the train. Tokaido Shinkansen trains came and went incessantly, and Thunderbird, Shinkaisoku, and Hello Kitty designed trains could also be seen.

You can also enjoy snacks and other refreshments in the dining car located on the promenade. This dining car was actually used as a Blue Train dining car.

There is also a bento booth on the same promenade where you can purchase original bento boxes.

Of course, there is also a museum store, so be sure to get souvenirs that can only be purchased here!

Kyoto Railway Museum

AddressKankijicho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
Open Hour10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(No admission after 4:30 p.m.)
CloseEvery Wednesday and Year-end through New-Year season (12/30 to 1/1).
Admission FeeGeneral admission (18 years and older): 1,500 yen
University and high school students: 1,300 yen
Junior high and elementary school students: 500 yen
Children (3 years and older): 200 yen