Eastern Hokkaido is the only place in Japan where drift ice can be observed every year and Kitahama Station is one of the top places to witness this phenomenon. Standing on the platform, you can see the Sea of Okhotsk just beyond the tracks and observe the ice floes coming and going right in front of your eyes! Ride the Ryuhyo Monogatari Train, which operates only during the winter, to capture this spectacular winter view for yourself! From the observatory next to the station, you can also see the Shiretoko mountain range gleaming in the distance. The retro round post box outside the wooden station building, and countless train tickets and business cards posted by visitors on the inside walls of the waiting room will add another unique touch to your visit.
Hosooka ST. - Toro ST.
Kushiro Marsh, the largest marshland in Japan, is full of beautiful encounters. Take a train running through this natural wonder to enjoy its diverse landscapes up close! From the train windows, you can see the endless marsh scenery and the meandering Kushiro River, sometimes with canoes floating on it too. If you are lucky, you may witness wild animals, including red-crowned cranes and Ezo deer. The Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko Train will show you the vibrant green in the summer. The SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen Train, a steam locomotive running with the nostalgic whistle sound, will take you to the snow-covered white world that the marsh turns into in the winter.
Biei ST. - Nakafurano ST.
Take a train ride through Furano and Biei in central Hokkaido to enjoy vibrant sceneries of Hokkaido’s beautiful summer. Framed by train windows, the undulating landscape of the hilly Biei area looks like a piece of art straight from a museum. The Red Roof House, nestled in the hills on the way, is a perfect place to take an idyllic picture. Once you enter the Furano area, the scenery changes to rice paddies and lavender fields which look like purple carpets covering the ground. Ride the Furano Biei Norokko train to explore the area on rails and take a break at the Lavender-Farm Station, a stop exclusive to this line in summer, to get a close-up view of the nearby lavender fields.
Hakuba ST. - Minamiotari ST.
The Resort View Furusato train line offers comfortable rides between Nagano and Minami-Otari stations, with spacious cars offering ample legroom and reclining seats. From the large windows in the observation room, you can enjoy impressive scenery, including the majestic Northern Japan Alps and the idyllic landscape of Obasute, one of the top three stations known to have the most scenic views to be seen from a train window in Japan. Around the route, you can find famous historical destinations such as Zenkoji Temple, Matsumoto Castle and Hotaka Shrine as well as scenic natural sites like the trekking courses at Happo-one and Tsugaike Kogen. No matter the season, the train route and the Northern Alps have something to offer for everyone.
Murakami ST. - Atsumi-Onsen ST.
Operating between Niigata and Sakata stations, the KAIRI is a specially designed train for scenic and comfortable travel. From the windows, you can see breathtaking views of the Sea of Japan, the Echigo and Shonai plains and the Dewa Sanzan mountains. In particular, around Kuwagawa and Imagawa stations, the train passes by the picturesque coastline with unique rock formations called the "Sasagawa-nagare". Besides its scenic route and spacious cars, dining on board is the draw of this train. Japanese dishes prepared by prestigious ryotei restaurants and Italian dishes supervised by renowned chefs are served on board, elevating your train ride experience to a whole new level.
*Dining on the KAIRI requires the purchase of a travel package, but JR EAST PASS users can ride Car 1 and Car 2 (non-dining) for free.
Kamiaso ST. - Shirakawaguchi ST.
Stretching about 12 kilometres, the Hisuikyo Gorge in Gifu Prefecture is a must-see natural wonder. The stream flowing through the steep gorge, the oddly shaped stones and ethereal rock formations give the place a mystic atmosphere, and the ever-changing scenery has something different to show each season. Near the gorge runs the Takayama Main Line, and by hopping on the brand new Express HIDA HC85, which just debuted in July 2022, you can get an incredible view of the Hisuikyo Gorge in all its glory from the train window. The HC85 also features a new hybrid system that improves safety and comfort and reduces environmental impact.
Mishima ST. - Shizuoka ST.
The Tokaido Shinkansen, a high-speed rail Japan is famous for, boasts a superb view of Mt. Fuji, a symbol of the country. The mountain is the tallest in Japan with a height of 3,776 metres and in September-October, snow starts covering the peak signalling that winter is near. Viewing Mt. Fuji from the train windows makes for an incredible sight just like an art painting. If you wish to catch a clear view of the mountain, it is recommended to reserve a seat on the window-side, E line.
Iwashiro ST. - Minabe ST.
Panda Kuroshio is an express train with cute panda decorations on both the outside and inside making it popular among children. Hop on this charming ride and enjoy Wakayama’s beautiful landscapes along the way. The train makes travel from Osaka to Wakayama fast and comfortable, providing easy access to famous tourist destinations, including the Shirahama Station area and the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the Adventure World theme park in Shirahama, you can even meet adorable pandas in real life! The Kansai Wide Area Pass is an easy and convenient choice for visitors travelling to the Wakayama area.
Okayama ST. - Onomichi ST.
Departing from Okayama Station, La Malle de Bois weaves through Setouchi's stunning landscapes, both coastal and mountainous, on its ways to four destinations: Uno, Onomichi, Hinase and Kotohira stations. Its cars are equipped with luxurious wood floors, exhibits of contemporary art pieces, room for parking bicycles and a shop selling souvenirs and food items featuring local specialities. The journey on La Malle de Bois is sure to be a fulfilling and memorable experience and is a perfect way to start your trip to the Setouchi area.
Tadotsu ST. - Oboke ST.
Enjoy the magnificent natural beauty of Shikoku from a train window, and learn about its long and rich history onboard the Shikoku Mannaka Sennen Monogatari train. An attendant will serve meals prepared with local specialities and at each stop locals will warmly welcome you and provide opportunities for interaction to deepen your experience in the area. Their heart-warming hospitality, the delicious food and the vistas you will see from the train are sure to become an unforgettable memory!
Running along the west coast of Shikoku by the Seto Inland Sea, the Iyonada Monogatari is a recently renovated train which started operations in the spring of 2022. The ride offers magnificent ocean views, especially at Shimonada Station, one of the closest stations to the sea which has been featured in several films and TV shows. The train also provides dining options made from the produce of Ehime Prefecture and even has a private suite so that you can have a special experience with your loved ones. Currently, the train runs four times a day, mostly on weekends and holidays.
Amakusa Misumi Line
Kumamoto ST. - Misumi ST.
The A-TRAIN is a sightseeing train decorated with colourful stained-glass windows and dark wood, creating a warm, retro-like atmosphere akin to a jazz bar. Enjoy scenic views of Mt. Unzen and the Ariake Sea as you relax with a drink from the actual bar onboard. Do check out Okoshiki Coast on the way which is known for the beautiful wavy pattern created on the sandy beach by the receding tide and the wind. The colour of the sand ripples changes depending on the time; orange under the setting sun, purple at twilight and silver during the day. This enchanting train ride will definitely elevate your Kyushu journey.
Miyazaki ST. - Nango ST.
The sightseeing train, Umisachi Yamasachi with its gentle wooden interior and exterior made of cedar offers pleasant, relaxing rides running along the Nichinan Coast in Miyazaki Prefecture. Along the way you will also get to witness a mysterious rock pattern stretching along the coast of Aoshima Island known as the "Devil's Washboard". Layers of hard and soft rocks have undergone coastal erosion over a long period of time leaving this rock formation resembling a huge washboard. As you see the coastline from the window, it’s almost like you are on a sightseeing boat exploring the sea.
JR is a group of companies that formerly operated as the Japanese National Railways before it was privatised. They are now six railway companies, commonly referred to as JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Central, JR West, JR Shikoku and JR Kyushu. Each offers transportation services in areas that correspond to the main regions of Japan, supporting, as reliable infrastructure, the complex yet convenient railroad network that the country is famous for.
Visit central Japan full of fascinating attractions, including Shirakawa-go, the Alpine Route, Mt. Fuji and the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes! Online reservation service for Tokaido Shinkansen and the Tourist Pass will make travel easy and convenient during your trip!Official Site
The JR EAST PASS offers great savings for travel around Eastern Japan, and is available in two types: the Tohoku area and the Nagano and Niigata area. Now, all foreign passport holders are eligible to use these passes, including foreigners living in Japan. You can purchase these passes via the JR-EAST Train Reservation website.Official Site Official SNS
The Kansai Wide Area Pass provides unlimited rides to major cities in the Kansai region: Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nara, as well as some nearby cities like Wakayama and Okayama, making it convenient for tourists to travel to more rural destinations. With this pass, you can also ride limited express trains and Shinkansen bullet trains within the valid area in the Kansai region. Enjoy a trip to Kansai more easily and reasonably with this pass! Official Site Official SNS
The JR Kyushu Rail Pass provides unlimited rides on trains operated by JR Kyushu. You can ride not only local and rapid trains but also limited express trains, sightseeing trains and the Kyushu Shinkansen, all popular and convenient for tourists!Official Site Official SNS