JMTN blog

(Japanese Model Train Newsletter)

Enoshima is going to Japan !!!

As probably everyone knows, Enoshima is IN Japan, so while that title may sound stupid, what I mean is that it is being planned that my latest ‘N’ scale Japanese model railway layout ‘Enoshima’ will be attending 2 exhibitions in Japan later this year. Full details follow …

Taking a Japanese layout to Japan may sound like selling snow to Eskimos or taking coal to Newcastle, but the reality of the situation is that Japanese model railway exhibitions usually do not have fully sceniced self contained layouts like those we normally see at exhibitions here in Australia (and from what I have seen in the UK, USA etc). The only ones you will see that are similar are the display layouts created by the major manufacturers to display their rolling stock (and sometimes structures), and they are usually just multiple track loops that go round in a circle and are not not intended to be realistic. Other that those, the only other layouts that have scenery applied are combinations of small modules like the T-track system, and usually the scenery on these is not contiguous because each one is made by a different person. Then you have the club layouts that are usually again large circles of track only temporarily set up on tables with little or no scenery at all. It seems also that Japanese modellers are afraid to try and model a specific location because of remonstrations regarding accuracy etc. I guess because of the size and popularity of the hobby in Japan, there are a lot of what we call ‘rivet counters’, whereas they would forgive a foreigner if something was not quite right and still appreciate the effort put in (a bit like the way they appreciate it if you try to speak Japanese, even if you are making a real hash of it !!!). So as you can see, “Enoshima” IS rather unique in Japan and it’s visit is said to be already highly anticipated by the modelling community, who are very familiar with the layout because of it’s web page.

All of this started in mid 2007 when a copy of the Continental Modeller magazine with my previous layout ‘Setagaya’ was seen in Japan by certain people and the comment made at the time was it is was unfortunate that by that stage the layout had already been dismantled – however hope was expressed that “maybe you could bring the new one to Japan to show Japanese audiences. I am sure that they would very much appreciate it and your efforts.”  This of course triggered my interest, as I had never contemplated this concept, and I replied that while I would be very interested, it could not be done without some kind of sponsorship. The obvious time to go was mid-year when two of the the biggest exhibitions in Tokyo are held – “Matsuya Ginza” which is usually in late July/early August, and “JAM” which is sometime in August. As the layout would not have been ready by then in 2008, I tentatively planned to try and aim for the 2009 shows – however in 2008 the two shows were only a week apart, whereas unfortunately this year they are 3 weeks apart. Of course there are worst things you could do than spend a month in Japan, even though it is their horrible summer season 🙂


Matsuya Ginza Departo (left) during Xmas 2008

Matsuya Ginza Departo (left) during Xmas 2008

The “Matsuya Ginza” exhibition is basically a trade show, is organised by a consortium of all the major manufacturers and is used to display their current and projected new products. There is never usually any private or club layouts at this show, so my attendance will probably be a ‘first’ !!! It sounds like a bit of a slog though, as it lasts for SIX days, and the longest exhibitions here are only 3 days (usually just 2). 

Tokyo Big Sight

Tokyo Big Sight

On the other side of the coin, “JAM” (Japan Association of Model Railroaders) is a non-profit organisation and their show is a mixture of manufacturers, retailers, clubs, private individuals & clinics.

JAM 2002

JAM 2002

This is a photo showing the size of the inside of ‘some’ of the hall at JAM2002 (I also attended in 2005). 

I met the people concerned with each show during my recent visit last December, and the conclusion all round was that all interested parties would be prepared to follow through with their previous negotiations to try and make the whole thing happen, even though the costs involved seemed more than originally anticipated. So if you need an excuse to have a holiday in Japan, then is a good time to go. Of course if you live in Japan, please come along and say ‘hello’.

***** 20/02/09 STOP PRESS *****

Well it’s amazing how things can change …

On the 12 February, I was informed by the organisers that the Matsuya Department store had decided to change the date of the exhibition, and bring it forward one week to the 22nd-27th July !!! This was after I had already booked plane tickets, so obviously I cannot attend an exhibition that starts before I arrive. Also the gap between the 2 shows and the total amount of time needed to cover them now is too long to take holidays for, even if I did decide the try and change the tickets to a week earlier (at a financial disadvantage to me).

Apparently the decision is out of the hands of the organisers – but it seem ludicrous to me that the venue has the final say over the organiser for the dates of an exhibition – imagine if the date of your local train club’s exhibition was decided by the owners of the hall you were using 😦

Anyway, they are happy to wait until 2010, and let’s see if it can be better organised next year !!! Thanks to the expert eyes of the Japanese enthusiast, as I said previously I did want to make several modification to the ‘Enoden’ part of the layout, to make it look more like some of the real locations, so now there is more time to do that.

January 17, 2009 - Posted by | Bandai, Enoshima, Greenmax, Kato, Kawai, MicroAce, Modemo, Tomix, Tomytec


  1. Excellent news, Doug – you’ve done us all proud!

    Comment by Mark Newton | January 25, 2009 | Reply

  2. Doug, Good luck (I say with envy!)! Thanks for sharing so many pictures and great information! I’ve linked your blog from my blog….keep those updates coming!

    Comment by Jerry | January 22, 2009 | Reply

  3. Congrats Doug, your hard work will pay off in Japan. Please keep us up to date!

    Comment by Lio | January 19, 2009 | Reply

  4. Congratulations Doug.

    Comment by Malcolm | January 19, 2009 | Reply

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