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Train fever first struck our household nearly six years ago. My son had only just turned one when I noticed that the sight of a train would send him into a frenzy of pointing and bouncing up and down in his pushchair. Within a couple of years he could name just about every train in the Tokyo area, and we spent our weekends exploring the outer reaches of the subway network.

A passion for trains is hardly unusual among small boys (and occasionally girls) anywhere in the world, but Tokyo is a paradise for the junior trainspotter. There are dozens of different train lines, all colour coded, reliable and right on time (as Thomas the Tank Engine would say). But if just riding the trains is not enough to keep your young rail enthusiasts happy, here are the top picks from our six years of Tokyo trainspotting.

The first stop for train fans in Tokyo has to be the Transportation Museum in Akihabara. It covers all forms of transport on land, sea and air, but the ground floor is dedicated to trains. There are sections of real trains to climb on, driver simulation machines, and lots of model trains to watch and buttons to press.

The Subway Museum, underneath Kasai station on the Tozai subway line, was recently completely refurbished. It now has bang up-to-date displays on the Tokyo subway system, as well as plenty of hands-on activities and model layouts.

Keio Rail Land is a grand name for a very small museum, basically one room with a few displays, a model train layout where you can have a turn at driving (ticket required), and a carpeted corner where for Y100 (Y300 at weekends) your children can have an hour’s uninterrupted play with the Plarail toy trains. The museum is at Tama Zoo station, one stop from Takahatafudo on the Keio Shinjuku line, but it’s even more fun if you get there on the Tama Monorail and combine it with a trip to the zoo.

Ome Rail Park is a semi-outdoor museum on a hill in the outskirts of Tokyo, so you get a breath of fresh air as you inspect the large collection of steam engines. It is about a 15-minute walk from Ome station on the JR Chuo line west of Shinjuku.

Toys Kingdom, part of the Tokyo Dome City complex, is located next to Suidobashi station on the JR Sobu line. It is not just for train fans, but it does have big areas with Plarail trains and, separately, wooden Brio-style trains, along with a huge variety of other toys. A great wet-day place if your living room floor isn’t big enough to build an entire rail network.

On a sunny day, you might like to take a picnic to Asukayama Park, near Oji station on the JR Keihin Tohoku line, Namboku subway line, and Arakawa tram line. Not only does the park have an old steam engine and tram car for children to play on, but there is also a corner with an excellent view over the main JR tracks heading north out of Tokyo, with Shinkansens and other trains passing by every few minutes. If you take the Arakawa tram line (change from the Yamanote line at Otsuka station , or the Hibiya line at Minowa-bashi), getting there is part of the adventure as the tram winds its way through the back streets of old-style Tokyo.

Finally, on October 8 and 9 this year, Hibiya Park in central Tokyo, will host the annual Rail Festival, when railway companies set up stalls selling train models, photos, calendars and even old train fittings and platform signs. This is also the place to have your photo taken as the driver of a Shinkansen and to watch rail-themed shows on the park stage. You’ll find plenty of other long-suffering parents there, hoping (like me) that their sons grow out of the obsession before they turn into adult trainspotters like the ones who also flock to this event.

Transportation Museum (Kotsu Hakubutsukan):

1-25 Kanda-Sudacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0041.

Tel: 03-3251-8481

Open 9.30 to 5; closed Mondays*.

Subway Museum (Chikatetsu Hakubutsukan): (Japanese)

6-3-1 Higashi Kasai, Edogawa-ku.

Tel: 03-3878-5011

Open 10am to 5pm, closed Mondays*.

Ome Rail Park (Ome Tetsudo Koen): (Japanese)

Tel: 0428-224678.

Open 9.15 to 5pm, closed Mondays*.

Toys Kingdom (Omocha no Ookoku): (Japanese)

Open every day 10am to 6pm (longer at weekends and holidays). Tel: 03-3817-6112

* Except when Monday is a public holiday.