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  • Shona McCarthy

Choo-Choo-Choose the Sagano Scenic Railway Museum


One of the best things you could do in the Arashiyama, Saga region is probably to take the romantic railway during sakura season. It gives what it sounds like. A purpose built railway containing an antique train which deliberately takes a very scenic and beautiful rout. But since I was in Arashiyama deliberately taking a tour of independence and self-reliance, I didn't want to take a service that would remind me of how woefully single I am and would cost me a significant amount of money. So, I simply wandered the station itself, which I can recommend, even for the solo-and-trying-to-be-cool-about-it traveller. The yard itself contains an antique train you can take photographs with at no charge.

(An old train in the yard of the Sagano Scenic Railway, Taken by me, 2019.)

If you're there in late March or early April, you can see some sakura on the trees around the museum.

(Taken by me, 2019.)

But it goes without saying that the best things are inside the museum. There is a rather normal looking hall when you step inside, with a place you can eat ramen, and a very old traditional style carriage. The carriage seems to be from the Heian period of Japanese history. But I'm not so well versed in carriages, so don't quote me on that.

(Photos taken by me, 2019.)

But the real star of the show is the many miniature railway displays you can find inside the station museum. For a small fee, you get to enter a room full of a massive diorama of train tracks. What makes this such a great location for tourists on a budget is that you can see miniatures of many of Kyoto's greatest and most famous landmarks. These include Ginkakuji, Kinkakuji, Kiyomizu Dera, Kurama, Kyoto Tower and others. For some reason, an Evangelion and even some Ghibli characters appear in the collection.

(Taken by me, 2019)

The museum also had historical photos of local people from around 100 years ago. Since I love kimono so much, these images held great fascination for me. Those in the know will spot that the hair and style of dressing are very specific to the period.

(Taken by me, 2019.)

(If you would like to take home a souvenir, you have the option to buy train chopsticks in the gift area. Taken by me, 2019.)

Consequently, I think that far from being a mere haunt for nerdiness, the train museum can be fun for couples, singles and young families.


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