Railway Museum

Is it lame to write a blog post about a place you don’t recommend? I went to the Transportation Museum in Omiya, about 30 minutes north of Ueno, because several Japanese people recommended it to me. To be honest, though, I see so many trains every day in Japan that it just wasn’t very interesting. The other thing was that all the displays seemed to be about the trains themselves rather than the people they carried, the workers, or how they affected society.
There were a lot of excited-looking kids there, but unless you’re a real testu-kichi (railroad geek), I’d give this place a miss.

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The museum started off  well with this jinsha, a human operated railway car. The first one was built in 1895, and they operated until 1930.

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This beautiful old railway car reminds me of an experience I had a few years ago. I saw a poster for a ride on a steam locomotive and thought it might be interesting. When I got there, though, it was only the locomotive that was old-fashioned. The rest of the cars, which had conveniently been obscured by smoke in the poster, were just regular JR train cars, so I basically just rode on a regular train for an hour.

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Japan’s first steam locomotive.

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They blow the train’s whistle and rotate it around on an old turntable every day at noon.

The museum is really crowded, far from Tokyo, and expensive (1,000 yen for admission plus 630 yen train fare from Ueno).

The museum’s English homepage is at: http://www.railway-museum.jp/en/index.html

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