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11 scenic train rides in Japan for an extraordinary sightseeing experience

Add these notable scenic train rides in Japan to your itinerary.

Sagano Romantic Train, Sagano Scenic Railway.
Sagano Romantic Train, Sagano Scenic Railway. (Photo: Klook SG)

Japan is known for its efficient train system that operates on the dot, which the Japanese take very seriously. Their train operators are even known to apologise if the train departs ahead of schedule.

Beyond punctuality, the intricacies of Japanese trains and their systems have also given rise to a passionate group of “train nerds” better known as densha otaku. One type of such train enthusiasts is the nori-tetsu, who loves travelling on trains, especially the ones with a scenic route.

While travellers like us can’t possibly hop on every line unless we dedicate time and effort to try every scenic route, we can still incorporate a ride or two during our visit to Japan. Through these scenic train rides, you can witness the country’s stunning landscapes from a unique angle, from mountains and forests to coastlines and rural villages.

Here are some notable scenic train rides in Japan to add to your itinerary.

1. Hakone Tozan Railway

Hydrangea along the Hakone Tozan Railway. (Photo: Gettyimages)
Hydrangea along the Hakone Tozan Railway. (Photo: Gettyimages)




This train journey takes you through the beautiful Hakone mountains, offering views of Mount Fuji, the Owakudani volcanic valley, and Lake Ashi.

How long is the Hakone Tozan Railway?

Trains run every 15 to 20 minutes between Hakone-Yumoto and Gora. The one way fare from Hakone-Yumoto to Gora is 460 yen. The entire line from Odawara to Gora is covered by the Hakone Free Pass.

Is Hakone Tozan Railway covered by JR Pass?

No, it is not, you will have to purchase the pass separately here.

2. The Sagano Scenic Railway (Sagano Romantic Train)

Beautiful mountain landscape and Hozu River seen from Sagano Scenic Railway or romantic train in Arashiyama, Japan
Beautiful mountain landscape and Hozu River seen from Sagano Scenic Railway or romantic train in Arashiyama, Japan


Arashiyama, Kyoto


The train travels through the picturesque Hozugawa River Valley, providing views of bamboo groves, mountains, and rural landscapes.

How long is the Sagano Scenic Railway ride?

25 minutes

How much is the Sagano Scenic Railway?

Get the Sagano Romantic Train Ticket at S$7.95 here.

3. JR Hanayome Noren (Bride's Drape) Train

JR Hanayome Noren (Bride's Drape) Train. (Photo: Tripadvisor)
JR Hanayome Noren (Bride's Drape) Train. (Photo: Tripadvisor)


Kanazawa to Nanao (Ishikawa)


This train travels through rural landscapes and along the coast, offering beautiful views of the Sea of Japan. The train is especially popular for its romantic atmosphere.

How much does Hanayome Noren Train cost?

1,390 yen (690 yen for children). Reserve here.

4. Gono Line

Gono Line. (Photo: Tripadvisor)
Gono Line. (Photo: Tripadvisor)


Akita to Aomori


This train runs along the rugged coastline of the Sea of Japan, offering breathtaking views of cliffs, rocky shores, and the ocean.

How long does the Gono line take?

The line measures 147.2 kilometers and passes 43 stations.

How much does the train ticket for Gono line cost?

JR Rail Passes can be used for the Gono Line and all Joyful Trains if reserved in advance.

5. Tsugaru Railway

Tsugaru Railway. (Photo: Tripadvisor)
Tsugaru Railway. (Photo: Tripadvisor)




The Tsugaru Railway takes you through the Tsugaru Peninsula, offering views of apple orchards, rice fields, and the Tsugaru Mountains.

How long is the ride?

Around 20 minutes

How much is the Tsugaru Railway?

180 yen ~ 870 yen

6. Kurobe Gorge Railway

Kurobe Gorge Railway. (Photo: Tripadvisor)
Kurobe Gorge Railway. (Photo: Tripadvisor)




The Kurobe Gorge Railway travels through the stunning Kurobe Gorge, surrounded by steep cliffs, forests, and the Kurobe River.

How long is the Kurobe Gorge Railway?


How to get to Kurobe Gorge Railway?

From Toyama Airport, take a bus to JR Toyama Station (30 minutes). From there, take the train to JR Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Station. Walk for 5 minutes to Shin-Kurobe Station, and take the train to Unazuki Onsen Station. The Kurobe Gorge Railway (Unazuki Station) is a 3 minute walk from the Unazuki Onsen Station.

How much is the Kurobe Gorge Railway?

From 290 to 1980yen.

7. JR Hisatsu Line


Kumamoto to Kagoshima


This scenic route takes you through lush green landscapes, tunnels, and over impressive bridges, offering views of Sakurajima and the surrounding mountains.

How long is the Hisatsu Line?


Can I use JR Rail Pass for the train on Hisatsu Line?

The fare for the entire line is 2,620 yen.

8. Tokaido Shinkansen Line


Tokyo to Osaka


This is the Shinkansen to take when travelling between Tokyo and Osaka. It is also the route that gives you the postcard-perfect view of the iconic Mount Fuji and Shinkansen.

Is Tokaido Shinkansen included in JR Pass?

The Nozomi and Mizuho high-speed trains (Tokaido and Sanyo lines) are also included, subject to purchase of a special complementary ticket

Can you see Mount Fuji on Tokaido Shinkansen?

Mount Fuji can be seen from the Tokaido Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka.

9. Hanwa Line


Osaka to Wakayama


If you’re visiting Japan during spring, this ride passes by mountains and valleys covered in sakura trees.

How long is the Hanwa Line?


10. Takayama Main Line


Gifu to Toyama


This route works in all four seasons, offering charming views of lovely sakura during spring, lush greenery during summer, warm hues during autumn, and snow-covered landscapes during winter.

Is the Takayama Main Line covered by JR Pass?

It is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass if using a Hikari train between Tokyo and Nagoya, but a supplement fee is required if using a faster Nozomi train.

11. Sotobo Line




This train runs along the coast, blessing you with views of the Pacific Ocean, in addition to rural landscapes.

How long is the Sotobo Line?


Planning for a train journey around Japan

When planning a scenic train journey in Japan, it is advisable to check the schedules and availability in advance, as some trains may require reservations. Additionally, different seasons offer different views, so consider the time of year for the best experience.

Most of the lines mentioned here are operated by the Japan Railways Group, which means you can ride most of them for free if you have a Japan Rail (JR) Pass! Although the JR Pass has increased its prices, it may still be worth it if you are travelling across multiple cities and plan your routes around JR-operated modes of transport.

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