I think I left the Japan entries somewhere around Nagoya, so back to Nagoya we go!
Besides the amazing Totoro house, we really wanted to go to the train museum in Nagoya. The museum is called the SCMaglev and Railway Park in English, but that name is weird and unexciting, so I’ll refer to it as the SUPER AWESOME TRAIN MUSEUM from now on. (It has a pretty flowery name in Japanese though: リニア・鉄道館 ～夢と想い出のミュージアム～.)
You may remember from my cat train entry that I like trains.
The museum is a bit far from central Nagoya, but it’s really easy to get to: take the Aonami line from Nagoya Station, and just ride it to the end of the line (Kinjofuto Station). It’s just a couple minutes walk from the station.
So why is the SUPER AWESOME TRAIN MUSEUM so awesome? For starters, check out this list of trains on Wikipedia. The museum has a TON of full-size train models that you can explore. And then there’s all this other stuff. A shinkansen driving simulator! A SHINKANSEN DRIVING SIMULATOR! Where else but Japan will you find that?
Mike posing with the experimental 300X shinkansen. The train beside it is the SCMaglev! SO COOL. The screens in the background are displaying the N700. The N700 is what I consider the “standard” shinkansen. It runs primarily on the Tokaido (Tokyo to Osaka) and Sanyo (Osaka to Hakata) lines, so if you’re ever in Japan, this is probably the shinkansen you’ll be riding.
Ugh, I took so many photos of the interiors and exteriors of trains, I can’t remember what they all were!
Two of the older 300 series trains.
Which train interior was this? A MYSTERY.
Nozomi = best.
Peeking at his favourite train of them all: DOCTOR YELLOW! Doctor Yellow is the test train for the shinkansen lines.
There are machines where you can get a fake shinkansen ticket and go through the ticket gates.
My ticket! (Nagoya to Shin-Osaka)
Poking at the displays. (That’s Doctor Yellow again in the background.)
Testing out the seats. The windows are a nice touch.
Jishin hassei! You can simulate an earthquake to see how it affects the shinkansen tracks.
The different series of shinkansen.
More trains! You can’t actually walk inside these ones, but you can look inside.
Most of the trains are open for you to walk around in, though.
Maybe I took too many photos of Doctor Yellow?
The cute dining car inside a 100 series shinkansen.
Ye olde train interior.
I love the ceiling fans.
Reminds me of a Miyazaki movie.
It sounds dorky, but the train diorama room is really cool. We probably just stood and watched the trains roll around for half an hour. It’s an incredibly detailed diorama of Japan, complete with recognizable landmarks, people, and of course TRAINS.
Tokyo! You can see the Tokyo Tower and the Skytree.
It changes from day to night, the rides move, trains arrive, events happen — it’s so neat!
Osaka. You can see the Glico man in the background.
The shinkansen driving simulator. We didn’t try it but we watched other people do the driving. (It’s an extra 500 yen.)
More train simulators. TRAIN NERDS REJOICE.
Also awesome: the maglev train simulator.
You basically sit inside a maglev train “car” and it feels like you’re actually riding a maglev train. It vibrates, you can look out the windows, etc. This is the closest I’ll get to riding a high speed maglev until Japan starts running them from Tokyo to Nagoya in 2027. (BUT! I did ride Linimo, one of the world’s two existing actual operational maglev trains, on the way to the Totoro house. Apparently Nagoya is the place to be if you’re into maglev trains.)
Of course the SUPER AWESOME TRAIN MUSEUM has a gift shop with super awesome train stuff, including stuffed trains, train cookies, shinkansen chopsticks, and train-themed everything you can think of. I bought Hello Kitty Doctor Yellow socks.
Definitely visit this train museum if you’re ever in Nagoya. It’s probably worth the trip from Tokyo if you’re really into trains. And unlike some Japanese museums, there’s a lot of English, so it’s easy to navigate and enjoy even if you don’t speak any Japanese.