SAITAMA, Japan - A new facility offering hands-on experience of railway jobs and displaying history exhibits opened Thursday at the Railway Museum in Saitama, near Tokyo.
One of the major attractions is the train driving simulator for the E-5 series Hayabusa shinkansen that operates between Tokyo and Hakodate in southwestern Hokkaido. The simulator gives visitors the experience of driving the train at its top speed of 320 kilometers per hour as recorded images of scenery flash by.
Visitors can also perform duties carried out by a conductor, such as opening and closing the train's doors.
Included in the section showcasing the technological developments that have taken place in the 140 years since the introduction of railways in Japan, there is a replica of a ticket gate used at Tokyo Station in the Taisho period (1912-1926).
Actual rolling stock from the 400 series Tsubasa shinkansen, known as a mini shinkansen, is also among the exhibits.
About 440 people lined up before the opening of the facility and numbered tickets for the Hayabusa simulator were sold out in about 10 minutes.
Shinnosuke Nakajima, a 9-year-old elementary school pupil from Tokyo, said, "It was really fun. I want to become a conductor in the future."
Admission costs 1,300 yen ($11.8) for adults, 600 yen for elementary, junior high and high school students, and 300 yen for children aged 3 or older.