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Shinaknsen 500 - KATO vs TOMIX ?!?!?!?

Toy Maker

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I see these sets available all over the net.

Can anyone tell me of their 1st hand opinions of the 2 sets?

What are the pros, and cons of the 2 sets?

Is one better quality over the other ??

Is one more accurate or more detailed than the other??

What are the differences between them?







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I have voth the tomix and kato. They are pretty much equivalent to me. Slight differences in the blue and grey shades, but minor. I've never really tried to see which is closer to the prototype coloring. My sets are a bit older, not sure if the latest release has any change in coloration. Dreail level abouth the same. The tomix does have 2 motor cars for the 16 car formation, kato 1.


I'll poke around in my Japanese model train mags, I thin one had a comparison article between the two.



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jappomania will, most likely, provide a reliable assessment ... he owns one (or two) of everything.


I own the Kato 16-car set, 10-510/1/2.  I'm happy with it, not yet having ridden on a 500 series.  The latest offering from Tomix, the 8-Car JR West Kodama, has the powered couplers which improve performance across turnouts etc., as does their limited edition 16-car set 92968.





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Oh yeah the powered tomix couplers are da bomb! they run soo nicely, never a skitter or blinking lights from dirty track!


its the one thing that could make me think about replacing older shinkansens i have with newer tomix to get this!





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Toy Maker - my big question to you is, "At some point do you plan to convert the 500 to DCC?" The Tomix trains have the better pick ups between cars BUT I prefer the Kato version when it comes to DCC. If you plan to run only DC, I might go towards the Tomix because of the pick up system.

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Hi toymaker:


My favourite train! I have the Tomix starter set for this, and i really cant see much differences between the two brands... Except for probably the black strip on the top of the train that is present in Kato but absent in Tomix. Other than that physical look difference, i cant really tell much. Perhaps those with both brands running will be able to advice you further...

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JR500 のぞみ,


Interestingly, the Kato models have always had the strip and it has always been absent on the Tomix models, right from the first release from each company.  I have no idea why.  Can anyone tell me why?





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well, about 500 I think Kato is better for something and Tomix is better for other.

I prefer Kato because the Tomix frame coupling system don't like me to much and the cars rolling better  (Kato have only one motor car, but you don't need another one, Tomix with only one can't run..)

Visually the best set released until now is the Tomix Sayonara set because is "completely" painted (cars numbers on the rooftop and near the doors etc..).

Difference between the old and the new regular set:

Kato (for me) is only a repackaging of the old, just a little bit improved paint but all the rest is the same.

Tomix instead has been improved (windows on the doors). BTW doors/windows set is available like spare parts so is possible to improve also the old set.

only the sayonara set have also the pick-up connection between the cars.

If your budget (and wife) permit only one in your roster, I think the best is the Tomix Sayonara

about best dcc friendly type I can't help you, I'm not planning to convert my fleet until decoders cost 1-2USD each (now is too much expensive for me)

about stripes on the rooftop I don't know the reason of the difference but I'm sure the first set W1 during the trial run don't have it, I don't know if has been applied only to the subsequent sets or in a later time, is not so simple to find good photo of the cleaned rooftop.

I don't think is necessary, but if you need items number let me know..and take care if you buy used sets, is better if you find a complete set, add-on sets and Tomix single cars sometime aren't so easy to find, especially the old release.








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Spaceman Spiff

I don't own the 500 series but many of the other series of trains both Kato & Tomix. I echo Bernard comments that DCC install is easier with the Kato. The Tomix spring motor contacts have given me more than enough character building  lol. I have basically had tear the Tomix down to the motor and solder the decoders directly to the motor contacts. The Kato's contact strips are easier to work with.



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I have the tomix 500 series limited ED.


Damn great model and runs superb. Originally the 2nd motor was noisy but I opened it up and the rubber mat between the chasis and the plastic seats that clip ontop was out of alignment.


I find that the all wheel pickup is a clear winner for me in any situation.


I now have 2 kato shinkansen's while they are good and run great I think the coupling is also better on the tomix, except for the Kato E5 which is pretty exceptional too!.

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Thanks for all the great replies.

If I buy a set it will be display purposes only, so the pickups are not that important.

I'm looking more for accurate details.


And the G scale version is coming along nicely. "Slow but Sure"

I have been having to learn a whole new world of 3D design.

These complex compound surfaces are very tricky to redesign


The hard part is almost over, and the nose design work is almost finished.



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Skvo, thank you for that link, That's a great comparison of the 2 sets.

Both sets have very good and some bad points I can see.


I think the Kato is a better overall scale replica. But the Tomix set also has some really upgraded features over the Kato set.

Wish we could combine the 2 sets and make an even better, more accurate combination of the 2.


Thank you.

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Cool review.  Does such a comparison exist for the 583 series?  Both Kato and Tomix have done it.  Tomix one is HG.






Tomix one would most def be better if it's HG

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That is a wonderful site for comparison!


Thanks for posting the link, skyo!


HHmmm.. i noticed a little price difference between the two brands too, usually seeing Tomix slightly more expensive than Kato... Adds up when you are making 16 cars trains..

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