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These Sightseeing Trains Will Take You Through the Beauty of Kansai

These Sightseeing Trains Will Take You Through the Beauty of Kansai

Date published: 18 October 2019
Last updated: 1 November 2019

Here railway companies have created tracks that traverse through the mountains, sea, rivers, and scenic tourist spots throughout the Kansai area. Enjoy spectacular views from the windows or enjoy lunch with local ingredients. Whether you are on a locomotive or a retro train, both inside and outside, you won’t have to go far to enjoy the experience. Especially during the autumn foliage season, you can feel the rumble of the train while watching the colorful trees.

The "SL Kita Biwako" raises steam running along the track

The "SL Kita Biwako" raises steam running along the track

The “SL Kita Biwako” started operation in 1995 by JR West. The steam locomotive pulls the passenger cars from Yonehara Station on the Hokuriku Main Line to the Kinomoto Station. The stops include Maibara Station, Nagahama Station, Torahime Station, Kawage Station, Takatsuki Station, and Kinomoto Station. The ride time from start to finish is about 43 minutes. The route shows off the Nagahama castle historical museum that is from the warring states period in Japan as well as the beautiful scenery of Kohoku. The staff will assist you in taking photos or any other needs, and is a perfect place to make memories. Various There are even a number of events are held at the terminal Kinomoto Station!.

The nostalgic passenger car

The nostalgic passenger car
Image: C56-Type Locomotive

This steam locomotive tows five 12-series passenger cars. It is a retro passenger car that has remained in its original form, and is a valuable vehicle with very few remaining. You can feel the nostalgic atmosphere of the train where more than 30 years have passed since the privatization of the JNR (Japanese National Railways). Check out this steam locomotive along with the inside of the 12 series passenger car.

From the start of operation until 2018, the C56 type 160 was towed, and in the spring of 2019, the D51 type 200, nicknamed the “Degoichi”, was towed. There were many fans waiting with cameras at the terminal station Kinomoto. "SL Kita Biwako" is operated on Sundays during the tourist season, with summer operation of 2019 on September 8, 15 and 22, The C57 type No. 1 (nicknamed lady) will tow 5 No. 12 cars. Autumn operations are on October 13, 20, and 27, and November 3 and 10, with the locomotive format still undecided.

JR West “SL Kita Biwako”
Fee:
Normal fare + assigned seat reserved ticket (additional fee). All reserved seats
* Tickets purchasable from 10:00 one month in advance of the reservation at the main station "Midori no Mado" and major travel agencies
web site:
https://www.jr-odekake.net/
  • West Japan Railway Company
    JR西日本
    • Address 475 Maibara, Shiga 521-0012

The Hankyu Corporation operates the “Kyo-train Garaku” that will fill you with the spirit of Kyoto.

The Hankyu Corporation operates the “Kyo-train Garaku” that will fill you with the spirit of Kyoto.

The limited express "Kyo-train" runs between Umeda and Kawaramachi on the Hankyu Kyoto Line. In March 2019, the second train “Kyo-train Garaku” was introduced. With the catchphrase “Feeling Kyoto from the moment you board,” the season is set for each vehicle, with the exterior and interior of each car different. For example, Car No. 1 is a vehicle that has the feel of autumn in Kyoto with the symbolic pattern of “Ryusui ni Aoi”, representative of the autumn leaves. Each vehicle has its own taste.

If you enjoy window seats, cars 3 and 4 are for you

If you enjoy window seats, cars 3 and 4 are for you

Cars 3 and 4 have window seats and counter tables where you can enjoy the scenery along the railway. The cars have a seasonal feel with the No. 3 car that feels like spring in Kyoto and the No. 4 car that feels like summer in Kyoto with Japanese iris., Yyou can enjoy the uniqueness of Kyoto inside the car along with the beautiful scenery that can be seen outside as well. In addition, the cars are equipped with many one-seat selections so one you can enjoy some alone time.

Make sure to pay attention to the in-car network services. Through the access point server in each car, you can access the camera installed in the crew room in real time and view with your smartphone or PC. Of course, each car is equipped with free Wi-Fi, and the communication environment inside the car is perfect. “Kyo-train Garaku” and “Kyo-train” operate 7 times each on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays that stop at Umeda, Juso (only a Garaku stop), Awaji, Katsura, Karasuma and Kawaramachi. You`re in luck as you can get on with only paying the normal fare.

Hankyu Corporation "Kyo-train Garaku"
Fee:
Normal fare
web site:
https://www.hankyu.co.jp/area_info/kyotrain-garaku/
  • Hankyu Railway
    阪急電鉄
    • Address 1-chōme-1-2 Shibata Kita-ku, Osaka, 530-0012

Go to Mt. Koya with The Nankai Electric Railway's sightseeing train

Go to Mt. Koya with The Nankai Electric Railway's sightseeing train

The sightseeing train "Tenku" heads to the world heritage, Mt. Koya, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in July 2019. The 19.8km from Hashimoto Station to Gokurakubashi Station is a mountainous region with steep slopes, sharp curves and 24 tunnels. When you leave Hashimoto Station, you will head to Kamuro Station, where the Kamuro Tenmangu Shrine praises the academic scholar Sugawara no Michizane. Next, the Kudoyama station is the home of Sanada Yukimura. There is "Kudoyama Sanada Hanada" at the station that entertains the users. The flow of the Ryuo Gorge continues to Takanoshita Station, and can be viewed while crossing the Nyukawa Bridge, a registered modern industrial heritage (of popular tourism). This sightseeing train further enhances the feeling of traveling to the sacred Mt. Koya.

A dark green vehicle inspired by the forest

A dark green vehicle inspired by the forest

This colored vehicle is reminiscent of the forest and blends into the mountainous scenery. The vermilion line is inspired by the Konpon Daito of Mt. Koya. Inside the vehicle, there are windows that nearly cover the entire side so you can enjoy the scenery while travelling in the mountains. The front car has a special top view seat where you can feel as if you are in the driver's seat. From the observation deck in the second car on the Hashimoto side, you can feel the nature of the foothills of Mt. Koya. In-car announcements are also made to introduce the history and culture of the land that can be seen from windows.

Adorable original items too!

Adorable original items too!

Various goods such as “Packed Tenku Tokotoko Train” or “Tenku Choro Q” that runs on the mainspring mechanism, straps, clear files, and towels are sold. The “Tenku” train runs every day except Wednesdays and Thursdays from March to November.

・Only Two round trips per day on public holidays. There are set plans that include meals, accommodations, or even their free plan the “Burari Tabi” of Nankai Electric Railway.

Koya Hhana Railway "Tenku"
Fee:
Normal fare + Assigned seat reservation ticket 510 yen (260 yen for children)
* Fees as of August 2019
web site:
http://www.nankai.co.jp/koya/tenku/
※10月1日より公開のサイトです
  • Nankai Electric Railway Co., Ltd.
    南海電鉄
    • Address Osaka, Naniwa Ward, Shikitsuhigashi, 2 Chome−1−41, 556-8503

    web site:http://www.nankai.co.jp/

Three sightseeing trains overlooking the sea, Kyoto Tango Railway

Three sightseeing trains overlooking the sea, Kyoto Tango Railway
Tango Kuromatsu
Tango Akamatsu
Tango Aomatsu

The Kyoto Tango Railway runs through the Tamba and Tango areas in the northern part of Kyoto Prefecture and the Tajima area in the northeastern part of Hyogo Prefecture, and operates three types of sightseeing trains. The “Kuromatsu-go” runs on weekends on a reservation-based dining train that runs between Amanohashidate and Nishi-Maizuru, and between Fukuchiyama and Amanohashidate. “Tango Akamatsu” is a reservation-free (free seating) café train that runs between Amanohashidate and Nishi-Maizuru and between Fukuchiyama and Amanohashidate. Please ride this sightseeing train at least once to experience “The Sea of Kyoto.”

“Tango Kuromatsu”: A beautiful classic interior

“Tango Kuromatsu”: A beautiful classic interior

The “Tango Kuromatsu” is especially popular and known as the 'dining room running in the Sea of Kyoto.' The interior has a classic and calm atmosphere with plenty of natural wood. You can enjoy all 4 courses, including lunch courses or sweets that use local ingredients. In addition, all three trains sell Tantetsu coffee, local beer, local wine, and original goods that are popular with foreign tourists. Check the website for details on reservations, operating dates, and operating routes.

Kyoto Tango Railway "Tango Kuromatsu" "Tango Akamatsu" "Tango Aomatsu"
Fees:
Varies based on the “Tango Kuromatsu” plan. "Tango Akamatsu" normal fee + boarding ticket 540 yen (550 yen after October 1), "Tango Aomatsu" normal fee only
web site:
https://trains.willer.co.jp/
Phone number:
0570-200-770(10:00~19:00)
  • Kitakinki Tango Railway
    京都丹後鉄道
    • Address 2065-4 Tsuruga Miyazu, Kyoto 626-0041

"Sagano Romantic Train": Enjoy the beauty of the valley

"Sagano Romantic Train": Enjoy the beauty of the valley

Mine carts are small freight cars used for freight transportation, which are box-type vehicles that run in places where ordinary trains cannot pass. The Sagano Scenic Railway's Sagano Torokko Romantic Train runs slowly with an average speed of about 25km. You can fully enjoy the scenery along the line because of the slow pace. Cherry blossoms in spring, fresh greenery in summer, foliage in autumn, and snow scenes in winter can be seen. This seasonal nature spreads out right in front of you!

The popular open-air car

The popular open-air car

“The Rich” (carriage No. 5 car) which is open air and without window panes, is particularly popular. You can directly feel the wind blowing, the sparkling light, and the various sounds that nature plays. During the cold season, a stove train with a coal stove is also used. You can look at winter scenery while enjoying a warm fire. There are many sightseeing spots along the railway line, and there are lots of highlights especially in the vicinity of Torokko Arashiyama Station. You can also download leaflets in English, Chinese and Korean.

Sagano Scenic Railway “Sagano Romantic Torokko Train”
Fee:
One way 620 yen (regular charge regardless of boarding area) * 630 yen after October 1
web site:
https://www.sagano-kanko.co.jp/
Phone number :
075-861-7444
Open:
March 1-December 29
Closed:
Wednesdays (except during spring break, GW, August, and the foliage season)
  • Sagano Scenic Railway
    嵯峨野観光鉄道
    • Address Sagatenryuji Kurumamichicho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8373

A sightseeing express that seeks historical romance

A sightseeing express that seeks historical romance

A special sightseeing express called “Blue Symphony” is a sightseeing express of Kinki Nippon Railway Co., Ltd. that transports from Osaka Abenobashi Station to Nara and Yoshino. The car body is a high-quality design with a dark blue body color and gold lines, with the interior of the car classical and calm. Departing from Osaka Abenobashi Station, you can enjoy a train trip that touches history. The vehicle is a three-car train, and the seats of cars 1 and 3 are all 2 rows with 1 row of deluxe seats. Car 2 is a lounge vehicle.

Sightseeing while aboard the train

Sightseeing while aboard the train

The tourist express “blue symphony” runs twice a day every day (except Wednesday). HP introduces one-day and one-night model courses. In the car local dishes such as Yoshino Kaoru sweets and Kakinoha sushi are sold as well as Nara local sake comparison sets and other original goods. In September 2019, the 3rd anniversary of the line will be celebrated, with various commemorative campaigns such as events and tours to be held. Please check the website for details.

Kinki Nippon Railway Tourism Limited Express "Blue Symphony"
Fee:
Normal fare + 720 yen (Express charge 510 yen + Special vehicle charge 210 yen)
web site:
https://www.kintetsu.co.jp/senden/blue_symphony/
Phone number:
050-3536-3957 (Kintetsu Railway Telephone Center 8:00-21:00)

Enjoy a special trip on a sightseeing train where you can experience the changing seasons, from trains that can be easily boarded from the center of the city to trains that enjoy nature such as mountains, seas, and rivers.

Text by:WEST PLAN

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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