Modeling Japan

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is "Why do you model Japanese trains?" Well, here are a number of reasons that many of us have gotten into this interesting hobby!

Trains, Trains, Trains
Just like the old real estate adage of Location, Location, Location, Japan is chock-o-block full of trains. There are literally hundreds of different kinds of trains in Japan running right now, the diversity is absolutely startling! Many of the trains are very futuristic and even whimsical in their design. Japanese railroads also team up with pop culture a lot, painting their trains with anime characters or art from well know artists. To top this off there are three manufacturers of N scale Japanese trains (Kato, Tomix, and MicroAce) that are very active, turning out dozens of new model releases each year.

If You Love Passenger Trains, You'll Love Japan
If you are a passenger train fan, Japan is the place to model. The train systems in Japan are some of the most extensive in the world. The premiere bullet train system is just the start as they have a
large system of limited express trains, local and rural trains as well as subways and trams.

Trains in Every Scene
The density of trains in Japan means that most any scene you can imagine can have a train in it. Unlike the US, Japanese passenger trains run right through the heart of busy cities, so you can see a speeding shinkansen flying right by a high rise office building only a few dozen yards away! The diversity of scenes in which you can see a train allows your imagination to run wild with the kinds of locals you can model.

Density Rules
Japan is a very compact country. Most scenes have a lot going on in them to model. Most scenes that North American railroads run through are wide open spaces which are difficult to model without a lot of room to do so. A small layout of japanese railroad scenes can be very dense with buildings, scenery, roads, etc and still be totally prototypical!

Trams, Streetcars, and Monorails
Japan also has a number of cities with vibrant trams, streetcars and monorails. These systems operate in large cities as well as smaller towns and run in both public roads and down private right of ways. The model train manufacturer Modemo creates superb models of many of the Japanese streetcars and trams. Japanese streetcar scenes are fantastic for creating T-trak modules scenes (and was what T-trak was originally designed for!)

Japanese Rail Modeling Resources at JRM:

Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and answers from JRM.

Modeling Articles
Here are articles that members and others have written to share their japanese rail modeling efforts.

Other Layout Articles
Here are articles on Japanese themed layouts from around the world!

Product Reviews
These are reviews that have been submitted to JRM about japanese rail modeling products.

Some useful web links to Japanese modeling sites.


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