In keeping with our Tokyo train theme, we visited the Subway Museum over the winter holidays. This museum was smaller than the Railway Museum of my previous post, but was also easier to tackle, and had a lower admission fee. It covered not just the Tokyo Metro system, but also addressed general subway history and technology with a variety of interactive exhibits.
The museum could generally be divided into three sections- the subway experience and history, subway technology, and interactive exhibits. The history and experience section had two full sized cars, as well as an old manual turn style, videos on the origins of the Tokyo metro, subway paraphernalia, and a stamp section where one could collect stamps representing all of the Tokyo subway lines.
The technology section had a variety of models showing how the subway works with tunnels, vents, and connections, as well as showing how the giant drills work to excavate the subway tunnels (this was a big hit). There were lots of buttons to push, and maps that lit up, which always makes for an exciting museum visit for kiddos. Admittedly, I also learned a good deal about subway construction.
Perhaps the best part for our little guy was the interactive section. This included a model train show, a model train that visitors could control, a section where visitors could operate the various parts of a train (doors, brakes, etc.), and simulators that allowed visitors to "drive" a train. This was the best part of the museum for little man- there was a docent dressed as a conductor to help teach him what to do, and he got to stop at the station and drive over a bridge. Very exciting stuff.
Another really fun part of this museum was the stamp book. For 200Y ($2), not only could we collect stamps for each of the Tokyo Metro lines, but we also collected stamps at each of the eight exhibits. When the book was full we took it to the visitors desk and received a prize of subway crayons. Now that our visit is past, we can look through the small book and read about the main points of each exhibit (history, safety, technology, etc.).