Facade of the Metro Museum
During my last trip to Japan, this May, I went out and visited many different places that are not so well known to non-Japanese tourists. I feel really lucky that I was able to experience being off the "beaten path" and often times being the only Caucasian person present. I hope you will visit some of these places and that my entries help expose them. Today I am writing about such a place - the Tokyo Metro Subway Museum.
You enter the museum just like a subway; through this gate with a ticket
Another way that I was lucky was being able to access this museum easily, that is because it is located in my ward, Edogawa-ku, in the area called Kasai. Although Kasai is located outside of central Tokyo accessing it is easy, and the museum itself is very worth the trip especially if you have small children with you.
The Tokyo Metro Subway Museum is not to be confused with the Transportation musuem, because this museum deals with the subway while the other does rail (above ground) And because the Subway Museum is less known it is cheaper haha! The entry fee is only 200 yen for adults and gets you access to many interactive exhibits.
Vintage subway cars
The first main attraction you come upon is a pair of restored vintage subway cars. The first car is a restored car from 1927 and was the first type used in Tokyo's newly made subway. Inside the car are figures dressed in period clothing and you can peek into the control room. The second car is from the 1960s (I forget a bit haha) and allows you to try the controls.
Inside the 1927 car
Mural explaining the drilling process
The interactive exhibits don't end there. There is model subway car that you can active the door and other controls, and another car that you can "drive" by watching a TV screen with fake tunnel footage. There is also a control room where you can direct traffic in the tunnels and communicate with "real" operators! The best part is all these exhibits are no extra charge, just line up and have fun when its your turn!
There are of course plenty of informational exhibits and materials. A lot of the information is in Japanese without translation, so you will miss a little not being able to read. But still since its geared towards children most things are obvious and shown with a lot of imagery. There are several interesting dioramas to look at as well, including a scale replicate of the size of tunnels/cars in the tunnels.
Hanging up on the station master
There is also a miniature scale model of the entire subway systems, showing the stations and how the tracks criss cross under Tokyo. The mini subway cars run through the track, but at only certain times of the day so you may miss seeing them.
A diorama of the subway system
I highly recommend you visit this museum, if you are even slightly interested in transportation or how the Tokyo subway system can be so efficient. You just can't beat the price, and exhibits are fun and informative.
6-3-1-Higashi Kasai, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo 134
Take the Tozai subway line to Kasai station