Jump to content

Japanese Train Catalogs

Guest bill937ca

Recommended Posts

Guest bill937ca

At the present time you can obtain catalogs for both of Japan's major train lines.  After looking at each catalog here are some general impressions. 


Remember these publications are aimed at the Japanese model train market which numbers in the millions, while J train modelers outside Japan may only number in the hundreds. For the most we go to them rather than the other way around.


Tomix 2007-2008 Catalog


At 420 pages this is the largest and heaviest of the publications covered here. The text in this book is about 10% English including a short English index, enough for you to understand what you are buying but you won’t be able to read any of the background information.  The sections include New Product Review, Rolling Stock (including electric locomotives, diesel locomotives, electric trains, diesel trains, coaches, goods wagons, private railways, third sector railways and inspection cars), Planned Products (one page, prototype photos only), Track Related Products, Control Systems,  Structures, Accessories,  Landscape Articles (items), Others and  HO-Gauge.


Item listings as in most Japanese train catalogs are primarily given by JR series number. Small photos show each individual car in a set and symbols underneath indicate the features of the car, such as if it has a motor and the length is given in mm.  A small Set icon indicates which cars are in each set and with the motor symbol you can tell if it includes a motorized car. There are also consist diagrams showing which set makes what part of a longer consist.


At the front of the catalog there are numerous simple track configurations created with various boxed track packages.  Tomix also offers over 20 three car train sets including Shinkansens , EMUs and loco hauled passenger or freight trains.


Photos of dioramas are less numerous than in Kato catalogs, but Tomix has some full page diorama and layout photos.  There are prototype photos here and there, but generally the Tomix Catalog is full of model photos.




Kato N-Gauge Archives


Published in 2007 during the 50th Anniversary of Kato, this is large 256 page photo album of previous Kato Japanese models. Written entirely in Japanese this book covers rolling stock only in photos with minimal text.  You won’t find rolling stock dimensions or any photos or information on buildings, track, figures or vehicles in this book.  Nor is there any how-to-information like in the Kato catalog. But there are numerous large photographs of cars in diorama or layout settings. 


Sections in the book include: steam locomotives, electric locomotives, diesel locomotives, electric cars (EMU), trunk line electric cars (Shinkansen), private railroad cars (EMU), passenger cars, diesel cars (DMU) and freight cars.




Kato 2008 Model Railroad Catalog


Also written entirely in Japanese except for a few scattered English words, the 2008 Kato Catalog includes 250 pages on Starter Sets, Locomotives,  Electric Cars, Passenger Cars, Diesel Cars, Freight Cars, N-Gauge Tracks, Structures/Layout Supplies, HO-Gauge, HO Parts & Accessories, HO-Gauge Tracks and Information. Dimensions are given in mm.  There are numerous large photos of the prototype and of the models in diorama or layout settings along with smaller photos of individual cars in a set. Totally unrepresented are Kato's European and US lines, but this is Kato's Japanese catalog!


Symbols are used to indicate the various features of individual cars in a set, such as which car has the motor.  When comparing sets it is not possible to determine which sets are basic sets with a motor car and which sets are strictly add-on non motorized sets without using a secondary source such as a web site.


The information section at the back of the catalog includes black and white photographs showing how to car bodies, change couplers etc. but again the text is entirely in Japanese.



Link to comment
Martijn Meerts

I can recommend the Tomix catalog, it's great. Although it has in my case also been expensive, since I ordered a whole lot of stuff from the catalog ;)


I can also recommend the Tomix Layout Support Book. It's a fairly small one, but has some nice details on modular building, doing scenery and generally has some great pictures and track plans. Of course, all Japanese, but plenty images.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...