The Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum underwent a massive expansion in 2016 to reopen as the Kyoto Railway Museum. This superb museum is spread over three floors showcasing 53 trains, from vintage steam locomotives in the outside Roundhouse Shed to commuter trains and the first shinkansen (bullet train) from 1964. Kids will love the interactive displays and impressive railroad diorama with miniature trains zipping through the intricate landscape. You can also take a 10-minute ride on one of the smoke-spewing choo-choos.
Several of the exhibits have come from Osaka's Modern Transportation Museum, which has now closed. Displays walk visitors through the history of Japanese railway innovation and delve into a new level of detail from railway uniforms and tools to a working level crossing and the inner workings of the ticket machine – buy your ticket, feed it into the machine and watch through the transparent cover! The museum has an open passageway layout so you can peer down on the displays and trains from the upper levels, as well as see city views from the 3rd-floor Skydeck.