Relax and Enjoy the Views Through the Windows! Five Recommended Local Trains in Koshinetsu
The Koshinetsu area is surrounded by a vast sea and rugged mountains, such as the Japanese Alps. There are many local lines that allow you to enjoy the soothing natural scenery. Here are five popular local lines that are relatively easy to get to.
1. JR Iiyama Line
The JR Iiyama Line runs along the Chikuma River, a clear mountain stream. It is a 96.7km-long line that connects Toyono Station in Nagano Prefecture with Echigo Kawaguchi Station in Niigata Prefecture. A rustic scenery of woodlands, fields, and traditional farming village houses can be seen out the windows. The area the line runs through is one of Japan’s heaviest snow regions. In the winter, you can view the romantic sight of the train running through a snow-covered winter wonderland.
2. Koumi Line
The JR Koumi Line is a 78.9km-long line that connects Kobuchizawa Station in Yamanashi Prefecture to Komoro Station in Nagano Prefecture. The train runs through the Nobeyama Highlands, which has an elevation of over 1,000m. At 1,375m, the stretch between Kiyosato Station and Nobeyama Station is the highest point that any JR train runs. From the windows, you can enjoy refreshing and grand views of nature, such as clear streams and rice paddies.
3. Iida Line
The JR Iida Line starts at Tatsuno Station in Nagano Prefecture and goes through the inland area of Shizuoka Prefecture to Toyohashi Station in Aichi Prefecture. It covers an extremely large distance of 195.7km. It runs along the Tenryu River for a good part of the way and offers natural scenery such as the South Japanese Alps, farmlands, and valleys. In the fall, it goes through a beautiful field of cosmos. The sights in the mountainous area between Tenryu-kyo Station and Hon-Nagashino Station are particularly popular among railway enthusiasts. This area, where the train runs along a deep valley, is particularly nature-rich and has the atmosphere of an unexplored region.
4. Joetsu Line
The JR Joetsu Line runs for 162.6km between Takasaki Station in Gunma Prefecture and Miyauchi Station in Niigata Prefecture. It goes across the central mountainous area of Honshu, connecting the Kanto Region with Niigata Prefecture. The view through the windows include grand mountains, rivers, and rustic farmlands. There are areas with beautiful foliage in the fall. Along the way, there are also many famous cities, such as Maebashi and Ojiya, along with several hot springs and ski resorts. There are many ways to enjoy your time on this line!
5. Kurobe Gorge Train
The Kurobe Gorge Train is operated by Kurobe Gorge Railway Co. It is a 20.1km line that connects Unazuki Station in Kurobe City with Keyakidaira Station in Toyama Prefecture. The Torokko Electric Railway that threads through one of Japan's foremost V-shaped gorges is particularly popular among tourists. It is a great way to enjoy a relaxing train ride through tunnels and bridges. The train goes to places such as the famous Unazuki Onsen and museums, as well as to places with amazing beauty such as stunningly sharp cliffs and deep valleys.
The Torokko Electric Railway allows you to choose your carriage based on your mood and the number of people you are traveling with. You can choose an open carriage with no windows if you want to feel the air, the Second Class coach (with windows) when it is chilly, or the First Class carriage (with windows) if you want to travel in style.
*There are additional charges to ride First Class or Second Class (one-way): First Class 530 JPY (incl. tax), Second Class 370 JPY (incl. tax)
The great part about local trains is getting to travel at leisure without worrying about the time. When travelling in the Koshinetsu region, do give them a try!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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