SL D51 is a large steam locomotive that is on the western side of Lake Senba in Mito. It is a typical steam locomotive that has been decommissioned and put on display in Japan. The last time I saw a steam locomotive like this one was in Hiroshima back in 2010. I had a fun time at that locomotive and this time I also had a fun time.
Getting to the SL D51 is a lot easier than it sounds. You can’t really miss the train if you walk along the entire western shore but it is a little difficult to get to it. It is located just across the street from the lake shore and there aren’t any cross walks nearby. I ended up jay walking and finding the entrance to the train in a parking lot.
Once you get to the train, you can climb up and into the main cab of the locomotive. You can play around with many of the switches and dials. Since the boiler is inactive and there is no water or coal left, you can’t really cause too much destruction. Believe me, we tried to destroy things but the best we could do was pull the cord for the whistle which let out no sound.
The D51 is actually the most famous series of steam locomotives in Japan. It was the highest production locomotive and you can find D51s all over Japan. In fact, a younger brother of the Mito D51-515 is the D51-513 in Itabashi, Tokyo. I haven’t seen it yet, but I just might have to go in search of this mysterious locomotive.
The SL D51 is a great place to waste a few minutes and to feel like a kid again. Even better, bring your kids and watch their eyes light up at being able to play with everything. The cab itself is a little dirty as it is exposed to the elements but it was surprisingly clean overall. You can even walk around the entire locomotive and see what made it run back in the day. Definitely worth the trip if you ask me.
- JNR Class D51 (Wikipedia)