Kyoto's Umekoji (Plum Small Alley) Park is fast becoming a go-to area in what was once a railroad yard.
The park is about one kilometer northwest of Kyoto Station, and is now home to the city's aquarium and the Steam Locomotive Museum and a large green space in the center of the city.
It is 12.5 hectares (30 acres) and opened in 1995. Prior to that, the area was a village that was folded into various larger municipalities, and then became a railroad yard.
In the Edo Period (1603 to 1868), it was part of Yamashiro Kuni. In 1868, it joined the newly created Kyoto Prefecture, and was known as Kadonogun, Umekojimura. In 1889, the official name of the area became: Kyoto Prefecture, Shichijomura, Umekojimura. In 1918, the area was incorporated into Kyoto City.
In 1876, the Umekoji Train Station opened along the Saiin Line, which to this day still heads west out of Kyoto Station. In 1913, Japan Railways purchased the land that now is the park, and in the following year built a railyard for steam engines and freight trains.
Today, what remains is the Steam Locomotive Museum. It is housed in an attractive wooden station building that was built in the early part of the 20th century. In a previous incarnation, it was the station building for JR Nijo Station between 1904 and 1997.
This March 8 two more train-related facilities opened. The Chin Chin Densha (street car or trolley, which is the sound of the bell it used to make) is the featured form of transport. Fans will be able to take a short ride on an old street car. In addition, there is Kyoto City Trolley Store - the last stop of the ride - where you can buy local goods (hours: 10 - 6 pm).
Steam Locomotive Museum
Open 9:30-17:00 (entry until 16:30), closed Mondays
Admission: Adults: 400 yen, children: 100 yen.
Tel: 314 2996
Open: 10 am - 4 pm
Fees: 300 yen for a day pass, 150 yen for one ride
Tags Japan Touring Kyoto Cycle Japanese