2017 No.20

Railway Journey across Japan


Riding in Warmth

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Your Map to Japan
Journey to Railway Scenes of Japan

The railway is an integral part of Japan’s landscapes in many ways, blending in with each of the four seasons. Take a look at railway photographer Nakai Seiya’s selection of picturesque railway lines across the country.

Senmo Line, Shibecha Town

The highlight of the Senmo Line through eastern Hokkaido is the passage across Kushiro Shitsugen, Japan’s largest wetland, where magnificent nature spreads out before your eyes. Look out your window and you just might see Japanese cranes out on the marshes.

[Akita Prefecture]
Gono Line, Happo Town

Most of the line runs along the Sea of Japan coast, revealing beautiful, dynamic scenes of ocean sunsets and choppy winter waves. Also pleasurable is a trip through the apple orchards of Tsugaru Plain.

[Chiba Prefecture]
Kominato Railway, Ichihara

It’s hard to believe this retro rural line is only about an hour from Tokyo, where the huge ginkgo tree at Kazusa-Kubo Station turns a breathtaking gold in autumn.

[Toyama Prefecture]
Kurobe Gorge Train, Kurobe

The sightseeing line features open-air carriages that give you an intimate feeling of nature as they carry you through precipitous cliffs of Kurobe Gorge. The best time to ride is autumn, taking in the season’s fresh crisp air and vibrantly colored foliage.

[Shizuoka Prefecture]
Oigawa Railway, Kawanehoncho Town

Passengers on this line, operating the most steam locomotives in the country, travel in rare style and pleasure through beautiful tea plantations. Riding in a steam locomotive through a vast landscape makes you feel as though you’ve slipped back in time.

[Hyogo Prefecture]
Kishin Line, Sayo Town

Local line from Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, to the Chugoku Mountains brings you past peaks, rivers, rice paddies, and other rural delights. A midsummer sunflower field in Sayo Town is an absolutely amazing sight to behold.

[Tottori Prefecture]
Wakasa Railway, Yazu Town

This local railway serves the eastern part of Tottori Prefecture. Looking up from the base of a waterfall at the 128-meter-long bridge, one of the Registered Tangible Cultural Properties, it seems as though the train runs atop the water.

[Shimane Prefecture]
Ichibata Electric Railway, Izumo

The sight of the train coursing behind red torii gates (gate to a sacred place) is something magical, like the setting of a mythological tale. Elsewhere, along the Ichibata Electric Railway line is Izumo Taisha (Izumo Grand Shrine), known for the deity of marriage and matchmaking.

[Ehime Prefecture]
Yosan Line, Seiyo

Coursing along the Seto Inland Sea and Uwa Sea, this line offers views near Iyo-Iwaki of waraguro, traditional conical stacks of rice straw left to dry after fields have been harvested.

[Kagoshima Prefecture]
Ibusuki-Makurazaki Line, Ibusuki

Kyushu’s southernmost railway provides majestic views of two volcanoes, Kaimondake—also known as Satsuma-Fuji for its beautiful silhouette and resemblance to Japan’s top peak—and Sakurajima, with its rising vapors.