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Have a Relaxing Train Ride! 4 Recommended Local Train Lines in Kyoto

If you are embarking on a sightseeing trip to Kyoto, then how about going on a leisurely journey via local trains? You can get off in the middle and explore, or just enjoy the gorgeous view from the train windows. Here are four local lines that are recommended for such trips!

1. Kyoto Tango Railway

Kyoto Tango Railway is a railway system that is comprised of the Miyatoyo, Miyafuku, and Miyamai Lines, which serve the northern parts of Kyoto and Hyogo. Its railroad lines are filled with sightseeing spots, including Amanohashidate that is listed as one of Japan’s most scenic views, historic sites such as Fukuchiyama Castle and the Former Navy Memorial Museum in the port town of Maizuru, and shrines and temples like Enryuji Temple. This railway system’s Tango AKA-MATSU and other sightseeing trains are also popular. The train stops or drives at a very low speed at spots where the view is beautiful, so you will be able to fully enjoy the scenery from the train windows.

Ordinary ticket prices:
Adult: 170 JPY – 1,800 JPY (changes depending on the distance), etc.

Best Season to Ride and Recommended Photography Spots

The best time to get on this train is during spring (usually around April), when you can enjoy attractions like views of pretty sakura (cherry blossom) flowers (near Iwataki-guchi Station) and bright pink shiba-zakura (moss pink) (near Amino Station). Step on the Yuragawa Kyoryo (Yuragawa River Bridge) that traverses between Tango-kanzaki Station and Tango-yura Station, and you will see a world of blue as far as the river stretches.

Best Season to Ride and Recommended Photography Spots

2065-4 Tsuruga, Miyazu-shi, Kyoto

2. RANDEN

Official Name: Keifuku Denki Tetsudo Arashiyama Honsen/Kitanosen

Next on the list is RANDEN, a train line that passes through many must-see spots, including Arashiyama, which is one of the most scenic areas in all of Kyoto. It is usually a single-car one-man train, with the Arashiyama Honsen (Arashiyama Line) running between Shijo-Omiya Station and Arashiyama Station, and the Kitanosen (Kitano Line) operating from Kitanohakubaicho Station up to Satsueisho-mae Station. There is a part of the course where it transforms into a tram, so you will be able to enjoy the authentic Kyoto townscape.

Ordinary ticket prices:
Adult: 220 JPY
Child (above 6 years old, but below 12 years old): 110 JPY

Best Season to Ride and Recommended Photography Spots

The best time to ride on this train is during spring, the season of cherry blossoms. It will pass through the scenic area called Sakura no Tunnel (Cherry Blossoms Tunnel), which is between Narutaki Station and Utano Station. Night illumination displays also happen in early April, and when the train gets to this area, the lights inside the cars will be switched off. The train will also run slowly, so you will be able to see and take photos of the night cherry blossoms from the train windows.

Best Season to Ride and Recommended Photography Spots

Sagatenryuji Tsukurimichi-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

3. Eizan Railway

Eizan Railway is a one-man train service system that operates two lines: Main Eizan Line and Kurama Line. The railroad line is dotted with trendy variety shops, cafes, and other establishments like Demachiyanagi and Ichijoji. You’ll also find numerous famous sightseeing destinations that represent Kyoto, such as Kifune and Kurama.

Ordinary fare:
Adult: 210 JPY – 420 JPY
Child: 110 JPY – 210 JPY (changes depending on the distance), etc.

Best Season to Ride and Recommended Photography Spots

Riding on this train will let you gaze at beautiful landscapes throughout the year, but one of the most famous sights here is the Momiji no Tunnel (Autumn Foliage Tunnel). From early May to mid-October, the “ao momiji” (summer leaves of maple trees) will create a refreshing scenery filled with green, while from early through late November, the landscape will turn into a sea of yellow, orange, and red maple leaves. To better appreciate the sight, it would be best to ride on the Panorama Train “KIRARA”. If you want to snap photos, then it is recommended that you go to Kibuneguchi Station or Ninose Station during early summer or autumn.

Best Season to Ride and Recommended Photography Spots

32-1 Tanaka Kamiyanagi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

4. Sagano Romantic Train

Last on the list is Sagano Romantic Train, a famous sightseeing train that serves a distance of 7.3km – from the famous Arashiyama Station up to Kameoka Station – in around 25 minutes. It runs along Hozugawa Gorge, which is filled with the beauty of lush nature, so you can definitely enjoy a picturesque vista from the wide-open train windows. You need to reserve your seat ahead of time.

Ordinary fare (one-way):
Adult: 620 JPY
Child: 310 JPY

Best Season to Ride and Recommended Photography Spots

The view from this train is stunning in every season, such as cherry blossoms in the spring, fresh verdure in the summer, autumn leaves in the fall, and withered fields or sometimes snowy landscapes in the winter. When the train reaches a place with a view that is especially beautiful, it slows down. For cherry blossoms and autumn foliage, the area near Hozukyo Station is a popular spot for taking photos.

Best Season to Ride and Recommended Photography Spots

Saga Tenryuji Kurumamichi-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

The time spent swaying to the rhythm of the local train line will help relieve the fatigue accumulated from daily life. Sometimes, going on this kind of journey is just what you might need.

*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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