Travel in Japan

Toddler Fun At The Railway Museum in Omiya, Saitama

Last Updated on 2024-03-07 by Teni

We took yet another Tokyo day trip to see trains up close at The Railway Museum… but I’ve realized that I have never written a post about the actual museum.
Our experiences are a bit limited as my mini-rail fan is still quite young and can’t fully enjoy the museum and its exhibitions. But, that doesn’t stop us. Here’s how we manage to have some toddler fun at The Railway Musuem

About The Railway Museum

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The Railway Museum, or “Teppaku” for short* consists of two buildings showcasing the past, present, and future of Japan’s railways.
*In Japanese, the museum is tetsudo hakubutsukan (鉄道博物館).
In all, there are a total of 41 exhibits and simulators.  Nearly all of the exhibits are written only in Japanese, but the museum’s offical app provides support in English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, French, German, and Spanish.
Unfortunately for my little Kaiju, a majority of the simulators are for those in elementary school or older. But, what keep us coming back to the museum is the fact that it’s a place that will grow with her as Japan improves its rail technology.

Stroller Parking

As soon as you enter the museum, turn right and there’s a parking space for strollers.

Baby & Nursing Rooms

The Railway Museum has 4 baby/nursing rooms:

  • 1st floor of the North Building as you as you enter the Rolling Stock exhibition (the room with all the trains)
  • 1st floor of the South Building inside the Kids’ Plaza
  • 2nd floor of the North Building
  • 4th floor of the South Building

Trains, Trains, Trains!

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In the Rolling Stock section of the museum alone (1F, 車両ステーション ) there are 36 train cars, including Japan’s first steam engine and the very first Shinkansen!
Practically anything that’s not behind a glass or locked can be touched. Seriously, when will kids (or you) ever get the opportunity to glide your hands over an E5 Shinkansen?

Teppaku Rail

Modeled after the E3 Shinkansen, the Teppaku Rail goes from Chuo Station to Kita Station (where the Kids’ Library is).

The wait time is considerably longer than the ride, so it’s probably better to walk to the library and take the train back.

Mini Shinkansen

The E5 Hayabusa is probably the most popular Shinkansen model out there (I mean look at it, plus it’s basically a symbol of the Tohoku recovery efforts after 3/11). Expect a wait time of at least 10-15 minutes.   
The Mini Shinkansen requires a separate ticket (200 yen per passenger, can be paid by cash or with an IC card) and is closed during the fall and winter months.

Miniature Driving Trains

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We haven’t tried this yet, but it looks like so much fun! Nine different mini trains (Narita Express, Yamanote Line, Tokaido Line, etc) run on a 200m track between the North Building and Kids’ Library
The Miniature Driving Trains require a reservation (first come, first serve) and it costs 200 per passenger. Each train sits up to three people and drivers must be at least 6 years old.

Kids’ Plaza

Kids’ Plaza is a play area divided into several sections:

Plarail Space

Expect to be here for a while…

Baby Crawl Space

Doodle Wall

Ekiben Kitchen & Train

The bento boxes and side dishes are replicas of the food sold at the museum!

Kids’ Cafe

I haven’t tried the burgers here but they look pretty good. Maybe next time!

Kids’ Library

5 minutes away from Kids’ Plaza is a wonderful library with train-themed books and magazines for adults, and a separate area of picture books for children.

You’ll find kids’ books in English, Chinese and Korean. I even saw some French titles, too!

Ekiben and Restaurants

Aside from the Kids’ Cafe, there’s also two different restaurants. One is called Train Restaurant Nippon Shokudo on the floor of the North Building, and another is View Restaurant on the 4th Floor of the South Building. View Restaurant sells all the toddler friendly foods like chicken nuggets and french fries (in case you’re wondering!).
Ekiben are Japanese bento (lunch boxes) that you can buy at a train station (eki) or on the train. What makes most ekiben so special is that they typically include regional gourmet or specialty ingredients.
At The Railway Museum, the most popular ebiken are no doubt the Shinkansen and steam engine lunch boxes. They’re made of plastic and are reusable, so little Kaiju loves playing with hers.

There are two bento shops inside the museum, one near the Kids’ Plaza and another in the grassy area right outside the South Building. Because the Shinkansen bento are popular, they often sell out, so it’s best to buy your bento as soon as you enter the museum. Get some ice cream (that’s only sold on trains) here, too.

(BTW it’s perfectly fine to bring in outside food!)
Ekiben are made for eating on trains, and you can recreate the feeling of going on a trip by sitting in the “lunch trains.”  

We prefer to sit outside on the lawn between the two buildings (for trainspotting, of course!).

There are a few benches, but it’s best to bring a blanket or tarp as well.

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There’s a fantastic terrace on the 4th floor of the South Building where you can watch Shinkansen go past, or you can also go the the Shinkansen Lounge on the 3rd floor.

Play Space

If you want to tire out your kids so that they’ll sleep on the way home (and so you can hit up the gift shop in peace), set them free in the play area outside the South Building.

Traniart Gift Shop

There’s a gift shop outside of the ticket gates of Omiya Station, but Trainiart is huge and sells nearly everything that you could ever imagine. From the outside the Trainiart looks like two separate stores but you can pay for your merchandise at either register.

Shinkansen-obsessed kids will love the selection of shoes, t-shirts, socks, backpacks model train sets, Shinkalion toys — but your wallet may not!

There’s also an incredible book and DVD selection, as well as stationery, snacks/souvenir gift boxes, phone accessories, and even train-themed neckties, cufflinks, and watches for the sophisticated train lover.

Before You Go

The Railway Museum is open from 10am to 6pm. The museum is closed on Tuesdays and for New Year’s. Entrance is 1,300 yen for adults, 600 yen for children 6 to 18 years old and 300 yen for kids 3 to 5 years old.
Lastly, there’s FREE WI-FI at the museum! Each session is valid for 60 minutes and you can login as many times as you like throughout the day.

READ: Ride The Shinkansen To The Railway Museum!

3-47 Onari-cho, Omiya-ku, Saitama Prefecture 330-0852
〒330-0852 埼玉県さいたま市大宮区大成町3丁目47番