5 Local Train Lines To Ride For Some Of Japan’s Most Beautiful Scenery | CoolJapan

5 Japan Local Train Lines With Beautiful Views

(Photo from: Miyazaki Prefectural Government)

At every nook and cranny of Japan lies immaculate landscapes waiting to be discovered and photographed by the visitors that take the time to traverse them. Couple that with the changing seasons — think blazing crimson foliage in autumn and pristine blankets of white snow in winter — and the local train lines that take you through the sceneries, and you have yourself a Japan slow travel experience.

Train lines help to provide the comfort needed to appreciate the ever-changing scenery onboard its compartments, hence it’s little wonder that it has garnered ardent fans. In fact, there are hobbyists in Japan called the etsu-ota or the trainspotters who stand in place with their cameras and photograph these quaint trains and even wave at the passengers inside. This article explores five local lines to explore on your next trip to Japan.

1. Tadami Line, Fukushima Prefecture

Tadami Line, Fukushima Prefecture

(Photo from: Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization)

Traversing across the picturesque Aizu region in Fukushima Prefecture, the Tadami Line is one of the most scenic train rides in Japan. It connects the vibrant samurai city of Aizu-wakamatsu and the scenic countryside town of Oku-Aizu, and takes commuters through lush greenery and meandering rivers.

Stop by some of the stops along the station, such as Kaneyama where the town is said to be one of the few towns in Japan that naturally produce carbonated water, and consists of the Kaneyama Fureai Hiroba Viewpoint that looks out over Oshi Village.

2. Gono Line, Akita and Aomori Prefecture

Gono Line, Akita and Aomori Prefecture

(Photo from: Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization)

The Gono Line stretches along the coastal area of both Akita and Aomori Prefecture, right beside the vast horizon overlooking the Sea of Japan. A gargantuan train line measuring close to 147 kilometres, the line connects Kawabe Station in Aomori Prefecture all the way down to Higashi-Noshiro Station in Akita Prefecture. There are three train lines that run along here, including the rapid train ‘Resort Shirakami’ available for those looking to enjoy the best of the Gono Line.

Some of the best scenery in Japan falls on the journey across the Gono Line. Catch the Shirakami Mountains of Akita Prefecture, a World Heritage site spanning 130,000 hectares. Juniko Station, a popular spot along the line, consists of a hike that leads to a mysterious but beautiful lake. On certain trains, there will even be a shamisen performance onboard ‘Resort Shirakami’, the Tsugaru-jamisen, and storytelling featuring local folk stories.

3. Kominato Railway, Chiba Prefecture

Kominato Railway, Chiba Prefecture

(Photo from: Chiba Prefectural Tourism & Local Products Association)

Extending from the picturesque Boso Peninsula’s western coast to Yorokeikoku in Ōtaki Town, the Kominato Railway line in Chiba Prefecture was established in 1925 and consists of 18 stations. Running mainly on diesel, the train cars of the Kominato Railway require no power lines and contribute to a nostalgic train journey with its short and quaint carriages.

The train line goes through lush rivers and deep gorges while also allowing visitors to enjoy the tranquillity of vast green farmlands. Some of the best scenery includes seasonal flowers in spring, which include cherry blossoms and a unique, vibrant yellow flower named nanohana, an edible plant native to Japan bearing similarities to canola.

4. Kurobe Gorge Railway, Toyama Prefecture

Kurobe Gorge Railway, Toyama Prefecture

(Photo from: Toyama Tourism Organization)

Lying in the towering mountains of the Northern Japan Alps is the gorgeous Kurobe Gorge in Toyama Prefecture, its steep ravines coupled with crimson autumn foliage and outdoor hot spring baths help make it a popular destination in Japan. The Kurobe Gorge Railway, the main attraction at the gorge, was built in support of the construction of Kurobe Dam but is now a sightseeing train operating through 20 kilometres between Unazuki Station and Keyakidaira Station.

Operating mainly from late April through November, the thrilling 80-minute ride leads through over 40 tunnels and across more than 20 bridges, offering unparalleled views of the gorge beneath it. The trains stop at select stations during the journey, allowing visitors to get off and explore the area.

5. Oigawa Railway, Shizuoka Prefecture

Oigawa Railway, Shizuoka Prefecture

(Photo from: Photo AC)

Running through jewel-blue streams of the Oigawa River in Shizuoka Prefecture, the Oigawa Railway is a steam locomotive train that’s a rarity in modern-day Japan with its lineup of shinkansen (bullet train) and express trains. This locomotive line starts at Shin-kanaya Station, where you can get up close and personal with a real steam locomotive car, and the train line runs through the valley formed by the Oigawa River.

Admire the scenery of quaint tea farms with farmers hard at work, lush greenery, rolling hills and mountains and of course, Oigawa River. At the terminal station, Senzu Station, there are options for travellers to go on a hike. Sumata-kyo Valley comes highly recommended and is a 40-minute bus ride from Senzu Station.

Which of these train lines are you looking to get a seat at on your next travel to Japan?

Next, explore the charm of Nagasaki with this one-day itinerary.