The day after Yamanashi Trip and seeing the majestic Fuji-san, I went to Saitama prefecture (埼玉県). Saitama Prefecture usually describe as Greater Tokyo area or Tokyo suburb area. When I try to find information about tourist attraction in Saitama, the number one recommendation was Japan Railway Museum. to go there I took takasaki line from ueno station to omiya station then change to new shuttle monorail to Tetsudo-hakubutsukan station. For one way the train cost 660 JPY and took about 45 minutes.
The museum is just right outside the station, you will spot it right away especially because almost everyone stop at that station is going to the museum. When I arrived, the museum was not open yet; it is opened at 9 am; Lots of kids queuing in front of the entrance. The admission fee is 1000 JPY for adults and 500 JPY for children. Since it is railway museum, you can use your SUICA cards (electronic transportation card) to pay the admission fee and the entrance door is just like automatic door to the train gate. When you enter the museum do not forget to take a piece of paper with designed time written on it. You will need it to drive a mini train later on.
I don’t expect much from the museum and I only estimate to spent 1-2 hours there. Which turns out to be the worst decision ever! you will need at least half day there to fully explore it. The museum was so huge with lots attraction. On the first floor they had a big exhibition room, you can see the history of Japan Railway and the trains locomotive collection there. You can see the first man-powered-trains, the first bullet train, the first-class coach to Fuji, etc. They had learning zone exhibition at each floor where you can learn how trains work, it is not boring at all since they had a lot of simulation there.
And my favorite one is the diorama room. The make a miniature of Japan Railway. They made it so detailed you can even spot lot of Japan landmark there, even the highest roller coaster also there! They had about 15 minutes show a few times a day. And what excite me the most is how they playing with the lightning to make the effect of dawn when the first train leave the station, day, twilight, until midnight when the last train stopped. You also can spot the speed differences between each type of bullet train. I jumping a lot in front of the diorama due to happiness, just as a little kids standing beside me.
On the second floor they also had a simulation room where you can experience driving train. But so much people queuing there and I don’t have much time left. They also had a dock on the roof top where you can see the real train (ordinary and bullet train) pass by. Outside the first floor there is mini train where you can try to trive by additional cost and you have to show the piece of paper you got on the entrance door. You need to come at least 10 minutes before your designated time as writen on the paper. You can not go on other time. Unfortunately I got there 30 minutes past my time so I have to get another ticket and waiting again. But I have to catch my buss to go back to sendai 😦
But I still had lot of fun there! Really worth to visit while in Japan 😉