10 must-ride local railroads that will take you across scenic Japan
Local trains in Japan allow you to enjoy a relaxing ride and nostalgic vistas as they traverse unspoiled nature.
Travel-loving users of Rakuten Travel introduce their favorite local rail journeys that whisk away the day's cares.
Aomori ~ AkitaThe Gono Line
This local rail route is very popular across Japan for the way it skims past the Sea of Japan coastline. The Resort Shirakami is a leisure train where you can even be treated to shamisen (a traditional Japanese 3-stringed lute) performances with Japanese vocals sung in the Tsugaru dialect.
The Gono Line
ShizuokaThe Oigawa Railway
Steam locomotives are a sure-fire way to get in the travel mood. This train plies a relaxing route through the scenic Okuoi area of Shizuoka and lets you see nature in all its splendor. There is even the mysterious Okuoikojo Station, a station installed above the lake. Many other fascinating sights abound.
The Oigawa Railway
HokkaidoThe Senmo Line
FukushimaThe Aizu Railway
The Aizu Railway lets you enjoy the beautiful nature of Aizu and its onsen town. Another benefit is that it is easily accessed from Asakusa and Shinjuku in Tokyo. The line also periodically runs a special carriage with an observation deck.
The Aizu Railway
Fukushima ~ NiigataThe Tadami Line
IwateThe Sanriku Railway
KyotoThe Sagano Scenic Railway
ToyamaThe Himi Line
Himi is the hometown of cartoonist Fujiko Fujio A, the co-creator of the famous Doraemon manga series. The train plies that route, so it has a train decorated with Ninja Hattori-kun, another one of his creations. There are exquisite views of the Toyama Bay and the Amaharashi Coast, which looks onto Mount Tate.
The Himi Line
KumamotoThe Minamiaso Railway
GifuThe Nagaragawa Railway
This local train runs along the clear streams of the Nagara River. Each season, creative and unique trains ply the route and entertain passengers. At the same time, the line also functions as an important route for locals.
The Nagaragawa Railway
*These rankings are based on a survey of subscribers to the Rakuten Travel News newsletter held from September 8-15, 2014. The local rail routes with the most responses from members are ranked here in order of highest votes. (Total votes: 916)
You might also like:
- How to be a Ninja Warrior: 5 Ways to Live the Legend in Modern Japan
- Ninjas - legendary masters of espionage, mystic ascetics, secret agents, and deadly assassins – still dwell among us!
- Local Cuisine Spotlight: The Best of Osaka
- Osaka's Top 10 most mouth-watering dishes, as featured in local gourmet rankings and selected by travelers.
- 10 Places in Tokyo to see cherry blossoms this spring
- One of the most scenic times to visit Japan is during the few weeks each year when its transformed by cherry blossoms blooming en masse.
- 10 Places in Kyoto to see cherry blossoms this spring
- For a few weeks each year, already dazzling Kyoto becomes even more charming as its scenery is enveloped in delicate cherry blossoms.
- 10 Extraordinary Landscapes You Have to See to Believe
- Take in the wonder of Japan's natural mysteries as you experience the following 10 phenomena with all five of your senses.
- Local Cuisine Spotlight: The Best of Hokkaido
- Hokkaido's Top 10 most mouth-watering dishes, as featured in local gourmet rankings and selected by travelers.
- Breathtaking Blossoms: 6 splendid spring flower festivals
- Although most often associated with the cherry blossom, Japan boasts a rich variety of dazzling flowers displays year round.
- 5 Secret Hot Springs You'll Want to Keep All to Yourself
- Highly rated by Rakuten Travel customers, these secret hot spring inns are hidden gems that offer the best of the best in spring quality and scenic views.