How would you like to go on a short yet thoroughly enjoyable trip on a scenic train? Here are 5 fancy railroad journeys close to the Tokyo region.
1. Watarase Keikoku Railway - Watarase Keikoku Torokko Train
Watarase Keikoku Torokko Train leaves from Kiryu Station, which is within 2 hours by train of Tokyo Station. It is an open-air train, so the scenery of the valley can be appreciated while enjoying the natural breeze (the train is sheltered during winter). The scenery of Watarase River valley, flowing between Omama Station and Matou Station, is especially beautiful. The recommended period for this journey is from spring to autumn. This train mainly operates on the weekends, and due to limited capacity two tickets are required, one at a fixed price to board, and the other at a variable price depending on the distance traveled. The fixed price ticket is 510 JPY for adults and 260 JPY for children.
*A photo of Salon de Watarase
2. Izukyu Corporation - Resort 21: The Black Ship Train
This resort train has seats facing the seaside as well as seats with a panoramic view. The train operates between Atami Station (within 50 min. by train from Tokyo Station) and Izukyu Shimoda Station, and only a single, regular fare is required. There are 3 types of Resort 21 train: Resort Dolphin, Alpha Resort 21, and the recommended Black Ship Train. This train was named after the American black ships that visited Izu after Japan's 200 year period of national isolation that started in 1690. The chic yet profound interior of the train exhibits the history of the black ships and documents of the Shimoda region at the time.
3. Shinano Railway - Rokumon
This train leaves from Karuizawa Station, within an hour by Shinkansen of Tokyo Station. This is a sightseeing train with dining services using local ingredients. There are two meals to choose from: Rokumon No.1, the Western course, and Rokumon No.2, the Japanese course (12,800 JPY). You can choose not to opt for this dining service, and just ride the train by paying for the separate distance and boarding tickets. This option is recommended for those who would like to try items from the food cart and/or ekiben (a lunch box sold at stations with unique characteristics according to each region). The boarding ticket alone is 1,000 JPY for adults and 500 JPY for children. There is a kids’ space available so the children can enjoy the entire trip. Additionally, around Karuizawa there are cafes and bakeries that John Lennon once frequented.
4. Isumi Railway - Restaurant Kiha
Restaurant Kiha is a cuisine train that operates from Otaki Station, within an hour and 15 min. by train from Tokyo Station, to Boso Peninsula in Chiba. The biggest attraction of this train is the lobster course meal that can be enjoyed at a retro table. The lobster course meal is cooked in either Japanese or Italian style. These menus alternate depending on the travel date, so please check before booking. The reservation for this course meal has to be made at least 3 days before the journey. Reservations for dessert and wine courses, or for the Japanese confectionery course (1,000 JPY), can be made on the day. Please enjoy the luxury of dining while taking in the beautiful scenery. Restaurant Kiha is especially popular during spring as the rapeseed will be in bloom.
*Introduced courses are limited to predetermined dates.
5. Chichibu Railway - SL Paleo Express
Kumagaya Station, the departure point of this train, is within an hour and 15 min. by train from Tokyo Station. SL Paleo Express of Chichibu Railway operates mainly on weekends and holidays, and is very popular for being the closest steam locomotive available in the Tokyo region. The beautiful countryside of Japan, including the rice farms and mountains of Chichibu, can be observed throughout the journey to the last stop, Mitsumineguchi Station. As for Watarase Keikoku Torokko Train and Rokumon above, a fixed-price boarding ticket, either for reserved seats (720 JPY) or non-reserved seats (510 JPY), is required in addition to a ticket for the distance travelled. We also recommend you stop at Chichibu Station or Nagatoro Station to enjoy their river cruise and delicious shaved ice.
A scenic train will make traveling luxurious and fun. It will definitely add a sophisticated quality to your journey.
*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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