by Samantha Zoe Cairney
Tucked away under Kasai Station on the Tozai Line rests the Tokyo Metro Subway Museum. A treasure train trove of delights where Dad or Mum’s trainspotter ego can escape out of the closet, don the dusty duffle coat, stand next to the kids dribbling with delight and still not look out of place. A life size platform greets you at the entrance, complete with an original Ginza and a Marunouchi subway car. Absolutely guaranteed to get your kids squealing with glee as they race on ahead to investigate the interiors. And if that doesn’t get you and yours clutching your pencils so hard that you end up snapping them, just wait until you see the simulator section! Three
simulators where you can sit, press levers, apply brakes, honk the horn and pretend to drive around the many subways in Tokyo. No insurance needed, or a uniform (apart from your duffle coat that is), and your safety is assured. The only snag is when the time comes for your little one to finish…because it’s Daddy’s go now….which has been known to prompt a kind of screeching, thrashing wildly about on the floor type of response! But that’s okay because it means you can have more time to do the “virtual” tour whilst your little diamond calms down.
Lots of exhibits detailing the history of the Tokyo Subway System and models of the trains. The large scale model of Tokyo showing all the trains lit up, traveling around on their daily routes was especially popular with kids of all ages. Fifty pairs of eyeballs, heads all moving in the same direction, little hands and noses suckered (not too flatteringly I may add) onto the glass screen, totally engrossed in all the comings and goings!! A little shop sells souvenirs and you can buy little stamp books for your kids. They can then enjoy rampaging around the museum and collecting the many stamp designs in their books…or on their limbs, the walls, other folks’ limbs, clothing, etc. There are two types of stamp books. One costs ¥100, the other ¥200. If you buy the ¥200 one and collect all the stamps in the museum, you are then entitled to a free gift when you leave.
The museum is on one level so it’s pram/wheelchair friendly. Changing facilities are available for babies and toddlers. There is a room with tables and chairs if you need to graze. It’s perfect for packed lunches. Drink and snack type vending machines are also there if you so desire. There’s even a small selection of books to entertain your child or for you to hide behind if your little rugrat is playing up!
I highly recommend visiting this place. My little girl and boy adored it! I had to drag them out and for a mere ¥400 we had a few hours of fun on an overcast day. What more could you ask for?