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You don't have to be a train buff to enjoy this museum, but for those who are passionate about trains, the 20-minute ride—by train, no less—to get here won't seem like much of a sacrifice. Located in a large hangar-like building constructed for Japan Railways (JR) East in a style reminiscent of train stations in Europe, it relates the history of the railway in Japan, the birth of the Shinkansen bullet train, and the technology behind keeping a train running. Thirty-six train cars are on display, as well as locomotives like the first one in Japan, which served the Shimbashi-Yokohama route beginning in 1872. My favorite part is probably the miniature train diorama, which features 1,400m (4,600 ft.) of track, but there are also simulators that let you drive a train and pull into Akihabara JR Station, drive a Shinkansen, and, for a ¥500 extra fee, drive a 1940 D51 steam freight locomotive. There's also a rooftop deck (the Shinkansen to Tohoku passes right outside the museum), an indoor playroom for toddlers, and an outdoor playground. Train buffs can easily spend a couple hours here, and since it's on the way to the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, the two could be combined in a day's trip.