Tokyo's Other Other Train Museum: The Tobu Museum (Tobu Hakubutsukan)

As of early last year, there were over 20 medium and large-sized train museums in Japan; three of those are in Tokyo. No train museum in Japan compares to The Railway Museum. But the Tokyo Metro Museum and Tobu Museum both hold their own and offer something unique.
 No train museum is complete without trains, and two are parked right outside the building. This is the cab section of a train built in 1960...
 Behind it is a tram car from the Nikko Tramway. The Tramway ran from Nikko to Umagaeshi (Umamichi), about 6 miles away, until the late 1960s. The Tobu Kinagawa line probably runs the same or a similar route.
 Once you go inside, you see one of two steam engines the museum has to offer, the #5 built in 1898.
 Next to it is an electric rail car. You can go inside.
 The interior is beautiful wood, and you can see the operator's area up close. Unlike modern cars, which are almost soundproof between the two areas, it's very exposed to the passengers.
 The long car has nice seats, too!
 Those handles look a little modern. I love the lighting though!
 An example of the luxury compartments for the limited express trains is on display.
 They're quite spacious and comfortable, seating four with a table as well. Not a bad subliminal advertisement!
 There are several simulators scattered around the museum. Here, you can operate a real train in a somewhat realistic setup using video. The catch here is that you're operating real model trains on the layout in front.
 Across from the simulator and model trains is some equipment like signals and small maintenance cars.
 Here's a view of the model. There are lots of tracks, but not much theming.
 Here's another simulator, with a large video display.
 An old Tobu bus is parked inside, a pretty rare sight in Japan for some reason. Trains get lots of love but buses seem to be mostly ignored. I guess the same is true in America, although I've seen a few buses in museums.
 Here's the front. The somewhat-middle door and strange layout doesn't make this too practical of a bus for heavy boarding and alighting like a city line would see.
 There's a single cable car, too, which can be boarded.
 An old locomotive.
 Lots of signage.
 Do you remember the trains from outside the museum? You can board them by going up the stairs.
 The Kegon train car is cut in half, of course, but you can still get an idea of the inside.
 Here's another simulator, between the two train car entrances.
 The tramway car is full-sized with nice wooden walls. You don't see pivoting cars on most trains in Japan, because they have dedicated track space.
 There's a second model train setup at the back of the museum, with a more realistic layout.
 Here it is from above; you can see it from a balcony on the upper floor.
 It's fun to watch the trains go around the track and make their way in and out of tunnels.
 There's a train station too, with ticket machines and a window.
 Here are the ticket machines from the inside.
 The window from the inside.
 That's a pretty complex machine. I wonder how it works.
 Inside the station office there are some display cases with old tickets...
 And plenty of souvenir tickets.
 An old gate is there to pass through, although it's always open.
 If you head upstairs, you can get right next to the Tobu line tracks to watch trains go by from below. There is a piece of glass there to protect you.
 The upstairs section doesn't have too much, but there are some display cases and this side of a train car. Going through the door in the middle leads to a special exhibition room; there's another special exhibition room in the back of the station with rotating exhibits.
 Here's the bus, cable car, and the old engine from above.
 And the luxury compartment is in that box towards the middle.
 There's a small courtyard between the luxury compartment and the bus, with two more train cars.
 This one is designed for long distance travel, with doors only at the front and back of the car. Most train cars have three or four doors; some have five (which is about half of the length of the car). There are trains similar to this still operating on the Tobu SkyTree line, usually as express trains with distant destinations.
 The operator's cab of another electric locomotive.
Cutouts allow visitors to see some of the inner workings. I don't think they use electric locomotives anymore, because most the train cars themselves have their own motors.

The Tobu Museum was larger than expected and pretty fun! I spent about two hours getting through the whole place; the Tokyo Metro Museum only took about an hour.

Open from 10:00-16:30, except Mondays, the museum admission is 200 yen. It's located directly beneath Higashi Mukojima Station on the Tobu SkyTree line. Note that not all trains stop at the station. Most times you'll need a local train. If the giant Railway Museum in Saitama is going to be too much for your family, this is a great alternative, and those who love trains should plan on stopping here as well.

It's possible to do all three train museums in one day, but note that railway museum in Saitama is very large and three train museums could be train overkill.

No comments:

Post a Comment