If you or your kids love trains, you should definitely visit Nagoya’s SCMAGLEV and Railway Park museum. It’s only 24 minutes from Nagoya Station by a comfortable direct train and it’s right next door to Legoland Japan.
SCMAGLEV Museum Main Display Hall - image © Chris Rowthorn
Kyoto’s Railway Museum is fantastic, but real train fans will also want to check out Nagoya’s excellent SCMAGLEV and Railway Park museum. It was built by Japan Railways (JR) to showcase Japan’s plans for a magnetic levitation (maglev) train line. There are several displays on maglev trains, but the real focus is on Japan’s trains through the years, starting with steam locomotives and going right though to the most modern shinkansen (bullet trains).
The museum is located in the Nagoya Harbor area, a very short walk from Legoland Japan, and it makes sense to visit both attractions if you come to Nagoya. In fact, if you have kids of different ages or interests, you could easily split the family into two groups: younger kids and one parent could visit Legoland while older kids and the other parent could visit the train museum.
Opening Times and Admission Fees
Admission Fees Board - image © Chris Rowthorn
- 10am to 5.30pm (no admission after 5pm)
- closed Tuesdays
- open Tuesdays if that day is a national holiday (and closed the following day)
- closed December 28th to January 1st
- Adults: Y1,000
- Children (elementary, junior and high school): Y500
- Children between 3 and 6: Y200
- Children below 3: free
Getting to the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park
It’s very easy to get to the museum. First, get yourself to Nagoya Station. By shinkansen (bullet train), it’s about 2 hours from Tokyo, 50 minutes from Osaka, and 40 minutes from Kyoto.
Exit the shinkansen station and look for signs for the Aonami Line.
Aonami Line Sign in Nagoya Station - image © Chris Rowthorn
Take the Aonami Line to the last stop, Kinjo-futo. The trip takes 24 minutes and costs Y350 for adults.
Get off at Kinjo-futo Station and exit the turnstiles. On the right, you will see signs for Legoland Japan. On the left, you will see signs for the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park.
Exiting Kinjo-futo Station - image © Chris Rowthorn
Follow the signs for the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park.
Sign to SCMAGLEV and Railway Park - image © Chris Rowthorn
Take the steps down to ground level.
Steps to ground level. - image © Chris Rowthorn
Walk past a convenience store.
Convenience store - image © Chris Rowthorn
Walk under the tracks and cross the street at the pedestrian crosswalk.
Pedestrian Crosswalk - image © Chris Rowthorn
The museum will be visible on your right.
Museum Exterior - image © Chris Rowthorn
When you enter the museum, you will see an information counter and a bank of ticket machines. Buy your tickets from the machines.
Ticket Vending Machines. - image © Chris Rowthorn
Be sure to take a brochure for every member of your party as you enter.
Exploring the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park
As soon as you enter the museum, you will find yourself in a dark hall where a film is shown about the history of Japan’s railways. It’s in Japanese, but the pictures are interesting enough.
Entry Hall Presentation - image © Chris Rowthorn
You can leave the entry hall presentation at any time and enter the main display hall. This is the heart of the museum. Your first sight will be of four shinkansen ranging from the oldest to the newest. It’s truly a magnificent sight.
Shinkansen on Display - image © Chris Rowthorn
After checking out the shinkansen, if you continue through the hall, you will find older trains, including steam engines and rolling stock from various eras of Japanese train travel. Be sure to continue around behind the front row of trains, as there are several more in back.
Steam Locomotive - image © Chris Rowthorn
In the middle of the main hall, on the right, you will find a machine that takes tickets for the drawings to try the two simulators in the museum: 1) the shinkansen driver simulator and 2) the train conductor simulator. To enter, rip off the stubs at the bottom of your brochure and put them in the appropriate receptacle. The brochure lists the times when the winning tickets will be announced. For the regular train driver simulator, you can get tickets at the entrance to the simulator.
Simulator Drawing Machine - image © Chris Rowthorn
The three simulators are located on the far wall of the main display hall. The first one is the shinkansen driver simulator.
Shinkansen Driver Simulator - image © Chris Rowthorn
The next one along is the regular train driver and conductor simulator.
Regular Train Simulator - image © Chris Rowthorn
Just past these two simulators, you will find a maglev train simulator, which you can enter on a first-come first-served basis (there is no need to enter a drawing or get a ticket). Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of this. But, it’s pretty cool and I suggest trying it.
Just before the simulators, you will find an excellent model train layout.
Model Train Layout - image © Chris Rowthorn
Finally, if you go up to the second floor, you will find an excellent kids’ play area. You can enter for free, but you have to remove your shoes.
Kids’ Play Area - image © Chris Rowthorn
Kid’s Play Area II - image © Chris Rowthorn
If You’re Hungry
There is a small snack counter at the museum. And, as you saw on your walk from the station, there is a convenience store nearby. But, for proper meals, head back to Kinjo-futo Station and follow the sings for Legoland Japan. Just outside the entrance for Legoland Japan, you will find a full arcade of restaurants with all kinds of Japanese and international choices.
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