The JR SCMAGLEV and Railway Park museum and inter-active display centre in Nagoya is super special for train buffs and train fans of all ages. And who isn’t a train fan in Japan?
Ever wanted to drive a shinkansen? Of course you do. This is your big chance; the simulator lets you do that for 15 minutes for just Y500 (it’s popular, it goes by lucky draw to get a slot when it’s busy).
Or drive the amazingly detailed model versions in the incredibly detailed diorama.
Or check out the history and future of high speed rail, from the first series of shinkansen from the 1960s to the 2003 World Speed record breaking MAGLEV train that clocked 581km/h almost double even regular shinkansen speeds. In 2015 the record was pushed past 600km/h.
Is a MAGLEV vehicle a train?
It is effectively ‘flying’, as this description from JR describes it:
“The magnetic levitation is a physical phenomenon that is generated by two electromagnets. The interaction between the magnets creates a magnetic force that compensates the gravity and allows levitation.”
How does the magnetic levitation work on a train?
“The magnets are placed on the train and along the chosen path. The action of the magnets will push the train up and ensure the existence of a gap between the “rail” and train. The train is off the track. Not touching the rail, the train avoids any loss of speed due to friction between the rail and the wheels.”
You can learn all about it in The Superconducting Maglev Room which explains the workings and safety aspects of the Superconducting Maglev, and the phenomenon of superconductivity.
Construction on the first commercial Japanese MAGLEV project, known as the “Linear Chuo Shinkansen”, began in 2014 and is scheduled to open in 2027, linking Shinagawa Station Tokyo with Nagoya in just 40 minutes for the 286km journey. The trip currently takes from 92 minutes on the existing Tokaido Shinkansen.
A massive 86% of the Chuo Shinkansen route will be underground, so the experience will be quite different from existing services. Quite scary we are thinking. The plan is to continue it on another 153km to Osaka in the next stage.
But the original shinkansen speeds of up to 210km must have been scary enough when the Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya and Osaka started back in 1964. Looking at the original Series 0 Bullet Train at the JR SCMAGLEV Railway Park museum it still looks more or less like an old school train, right down to the big solid metal faring under the nose cone.
The subsequent series are lined up beside it, so you can view the progress in those.
For kids and adults the chance to drive the shinkansen simulator is pretty special here if you can get a slot to do that.
Other old trains include a classic imperial steam engine, and a “steam diesel” car – getting into serious train spotter territory there. You can see them and check out the stories in The Railway History Room.
The Relics Room is for all those fans of Bargain Hunt – old clocks, instruments, tools, documents and more paraphernalia are on display here.
The is more hands on stuff though – this is no stuffy old museum. For little kids Plarail toy trains are available in the Kids Playroom for children under elementary school age (not yet enrolled) who are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The Greatest Railway Diorama Room will be a winner with anyone who ever had an electric train set. Or dreamed of having one – all we had was a clockwork set. The JR SCMAGLEV Railway Park model scale is 1/80~1/87, with standard 16.5mm wide familiar HO scale tracks. It has the theme of “A Day in the Life of the Railway” recreated in great detail with backdrop scenic settings and buildings and busy figures all to scale. You can drive the trains too.
It all adds up to easily be in Nagoya’s Top 5 Attractions in our book.
JR SCMAGLEV Railway Park opening hours/costs
Opening hours are 10:00am – 5:30pm daily except Tuesdays and Holidays (if a Holiday falls on a Tuesday it will be closed the next day). Adults ¥1,000 Children ¥500.
For the simulators a lottery system applies every hour or so just put in for it when you arrive is best and hope you get lucky.
Where is JR SCMAGLEV Railway Park museum?
From Nagoya Station: Take Aonami Line to Kinjofuto Station, about 24 minutes. Off the shinkansen use the South Gate – see Nagoya Station plan below.
From Chubu Centrair International Airport, Nagoya:
Take Meitetsu Line to Nagoya Station, then transfer to Aonami Line.
A direct bus service between Chubu Centrair International Airport and Kinjofuto operated on Saturdays, Sundays, and designated days. For details visit JR Tokai Bus Company.
Nagoya / Aichi more attractions and info
Another top Nagoya attraction is Atsuta Jingu Shrine
For Nagoya Tourism go to the official Visit Nagoya site
For a great Japan Rail Tour including visiting JR SCMAGLEV Railway Park check this one from Japan Holidays