5 Scenic Train Routes In Japan For Breathtaking Journeys

Last Updated: May 2024

Table of Contents

Looking for an unforgettable adventure in Japan? You don’t need to look any further than its stunning train routes.

Japan’s rail system is world-renowned for its efficiency, but it’s also famous for its breathtaking scenery. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just starting to explore Japan, these five scenic train routes are sure to leave you in awe.

From the rolling hills of Hokkaido to the lush forests of Sagano, these train journeys offer a unique perspective on Japan’s natural beauty.

You’ll be able to sit back and relax as you’re whisked away on a journey that will take you through some of the country’s most stunning landscapes.

So grab your camera, sit back, and get ready to experience the best of Japan’s scenic train routes.

Key Takeaways

  • Japan’s rail system is renowned for its efficiency and scenic train routes offer a unique perspective on Japan’s natural beauty.
  • Hokkaido Shinkansen and Sagano Scenic Railway offer opportunities to explore local attractions and cuisine.
  • Arashiyama Bamboo Grove offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, while Hozugawa River offers a thrilling experience.
  • Tenryu-ji Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most important Zen temples in Japan.

The Hokkaido Shinkansen

Get ready to be blown away by the stunning views on the Hokkaido Shinkansen – it’s an experience you won’t want to miss!

This scenic train route takes you through the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido, and offers breathtaking views of the countryside, mountains, and coastlines.

The Hokkaido Shinkansen is a high-speed train that runs from Shin-Aomori Station in the Aomori Prefecture to Hakodate Station in Hokkaido.

During the journey, you’ll pass through Seikan Tunnel, which is the longest undersea tunnel in the world, and see the beautiful Tsugaru Strait.

The train also stops at various stations along the way, where you can get off and explore local attractions and cuisine.

The Sagano Scenic Railway

Are you ready for a breathtaking journey? Hop on the Sagano Scenic Railway and enjoy the beauty of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.

As you gaze out the window, you’ll be awed by the stunning scenery of the Hozugawa River.

Don’t forget to visit the historic Tenryu-ji Temple, one of the most important Zen temples in Kyoto.

Enjoy the Beauty of Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

As you wander through the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, the rustling leaves and towering stalks create a serene atmosphere that will leave you in awe.

This grove is a must-visit destination in Japan, as it is one of the most beautiful bamboo forests in the world. The grove is located on the outskirts of Kyoto and is easily accessible by train or bus.

The bamboo grove is not just a sight to behold, but it also offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. You can take a leisurely stroll along the well-maintained paths and appreciate the beauty of nature.

The grove is especially stunning during the early morning hours when the sunlight filters through the bamboo leaves, creating a mesmerizing effect. Don’t forget to bring your camera as the grove provides many opportunities for stunning photographs!

See the Stunning Scenery of the Hozugawa River

You’ll be mesmerized by the stunning scenery of the Hozugawa River, where the crystal clear waters and picturesque landscapes will take your breath away. As you ride along the river on a traditional wooden boat, you’ll be treated to a truly unforgettable experience.

Here are three reasons why the Hozugawa River is a must-see destination on your scenic train route journey:

  1. The rapids: The Hozugawa River is known for its exciting rapids that will get your adrenaline pumping. As you navigate through the twists and turns of the river, you’ll feel the rush of the water around you. It’s a thrilling experience that you won’t soon forget.

  2. The scenery: The Hozugawa River is surrounded by lush greenery and towering cliffs, making for a breathtaking backdrop as you travel along the river. You’ll be able to take in the stunning scenery from the comfort of your boat, giving you a unique perspective of this beautiful landscape.

  3. The history: The Hozugawa River has been an important transportation route since ancient times. As you ride along the river, you’ll be able to learn about the history and culture of the area through informative commentary from your guide. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the past that will enhance your experience of the Hozugawa River.

Visit the Historic Tenryu-ji Temple

Come and immerse yourself in the rich history and spirituality of Kyoto by visiting the historic Tenryu-ji Temple. This temple, located in the Arashiyama district of Kyoto, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is considered one of the most important Zen temples in Japan.

It was originally built in 1339 and was the center of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism. The temple has a stunning garden that was designed by the famous landscape architect Muso Soseki and is considered one of the finest examples of Japanese garden design.

When you visit Tenryu-ji Temple, you will be transported back in time to the days of ancient Kyoto. The temple has survived wars and natural disasters over the centuries and has been carefully restored to its former glory.

As you walk through the temple grounds, you will feel a sense of peace and serenity that can only be found in a place of such spiritual significance. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the beauty and history of this amazing temple on your next trip to Japan.

The Sanriku Railway Rias Line

The Sanriku Railway Rias Line offers a scenic train route that’s perfect for those seeking breathtaking views of Japan’s beautiful coastline.

This train route runs between Miyako and Kuji stations, and takes passengers on a journey through stunning landscapes that will leave you in awe.

As the train winds its way along the coast, you’ll be able to see rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and crystal-clear waters that are a hallmark of the Sanriku region.

One of the highlights of this train journey is the opportunity to see the Jodogahama Beach, which is known for its pristine white sand and turquoise waters.

The train will also take you past the Hashikami Tunnel, which is one of the longest tunnels in Japan and offers a unique perspective of the coastline.

Whether you’re a nature lover or simply looking for a unique way to explore the Sanriku region, the Sanriku Railway Rias Line is an experience you won’t want to miss.

So sit back, relax, and let the beauty of Japan’s coastline unfold before your eyes.

The Oigawa Railway

If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure in Japan, hop aboard the Oigawa Railway and prepare to be transported to a bygone era of steam locomotives and mountain vistas.

The Oigawa Railway, also known as the Oigawa Line, is a scenic train route that runs through the picturesque countryside of Shizuoka Prefecture. Here are some things you can expect on your journey:

  1. Steam locomotives: The Oigawa Railway is famous for its steam locomotives, which are a rare sight in Japan these days. The train ride is a nostalgic experience that will take you back in time and give you a glimpse of what travel was like in the past.

  2. Stunning scenery: The train route runs through the beautiful Oi River valley, with scenic views of the surrounding mountains and forests. The autumn foliage is especially breathtaking, with vibrant colors that will leave you in awe.

  3. Onsen hot springs: The Oigawa Railway stops at several hot spring resorts along the way, where you can relax and soak in the mineral-rich waters after a long day of sightseeing.

  4. Local cuisine: The train also offers a variety of local snacks and drinks, such as green tea and sweet potatoes, that you can enjoy while taking in the stunning scenery. Don’t forget to try the famous Shizuoka sushi, which is made with fresh seafood caught in the nearby Suruga Bay.

The Tsugaru Railway

Now that you’ve experienced the beauty of the Oigawa Railway, it’s time to hop aboard another scenic train in Japan – the Tsugaru Railway.

This train journey takes you through the picturesque landscapes of the Tsugaru region in northern Japan, offering breathtaking views of the countryside and the Sea of Japan.

The Tsugaru Railway runs for 54.1 kilometers between the cities of Tsugaru Goshogawara and Tsugaru Nakasato, and passes through 30 stations along the way.

One of the highlights of the journey is the Tsugaru Railway’s vintage train cars, which date back to the 1950s and offer a nostalgic atmosphere for passengers. The train also features large windows that allow you to take in the stunning scenery as you make your way through the region.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to take these scenic train routes in Japan?

If you want to experience the best time to take scenic train routes in Japan, it depends on your preferences.

If you’re into cherry blossoms, spring is the best time to see the pink and white flowers blooming, usually from late March to early April.

For autumn foliage, mid-October to early December is the perfect time to witness the beauty of the changing colors of the leaves.

Summer is also an excellent time to take these scenic train routes, especially if you want to see the lush greenery and enjoy outdoor activities. However, be prepared for the hot and humid weather during this season.

Winter, on the other hand, offers a unique experience of seeing the snow-covered landscapes, but it can be challenging to travel during this season due to the cold and possible train delays.

Ultimately, the best time to take these scenic train routes depends on your preference and what you want to experience during your journey.

Are there any particular areas along these routes that are known for their stunning natural scenery or cultural landmarks?

If you’re looking for stunning natural scenery or cultural landmarks along the scenic train routes in Japan, there are plenty of areas to choose from.

For example, the Hokuriku Shinkansen route offers views of the majestic Mount Fuji and the beautiful Sea of Japan, while the Kyushu Island route takes you through charming towns and hot springs, as well as ancient castles and temples.

On the other hand, the Sanriku Coast route boasts breathtaking views of rugged cliffs, turquoise waters, and picturesque fishing villages, and the Oigawa Railway route takes you through scenic mountains and valleys, where you can admire the stunning autumn foliage and cherry blossoms.

No matter which route you choose, you’ll be sure to encounter natural wonders and cultural treasures that will leave you in awe.

Can you purchase food and drinks onboard these trains?

Yes, you can definitely purchase food and drinks onboard these trains. Most trains have food and drink vending machines and some even have dining cars where you can enjoy a meal while taking in the stunning views.

It’s important to note that the options may be limited and prices may be slightly higher than what you would find outside of the train, so it’s a good idea to bring some snacks and drinks with you just in case.

Regardless, being able to grab a bite or sip on a beverage while riding along some of the most picturesque routes in Japan only adds to the overall experience and makes for an unforgettable journey.

How long do these train journeys typically take, and are there any stops along the way?

Typically, the train journeys on these scenic routes in Japan take several hours to complete, but the exact duration depends on the route and the destination.

There are usually several stops along the way, giving passengers the opportunity to get off and explore the surrounding areas. Some of the stops may be short, while others may be longer, allowing passengers to take in the stunning scenery and enjoy local attractions.

Depending on the train and the route, you may be able to purchase food and drinks onboard to enjoy during your journey. Just remember to bring your camera, as these train rides offer some of the most breathtaking views in Japan!

Are there any special events or promotions that travelers should keep an eye out for when planning their trip on these scenic train routes?

When planning your trip on the scenic train routes in Japan, it’s important to keep an eye out for any special events or promotions that may be available.

These could include seasonal events, such as cherry blossom viewing or autumn foliage tours, or special themed trains, such as the Hello Kitty Shinkansen or the Twilight Express Mizukaze luxury train.

Some train routes may also offer discounted fares or package deals that include admission to nearby attractions or accommodations.

Be sure to check with the train company or local tourism board for any current promotions or events that may enhance your scenic train journey experience.

Conclusion

So, you’ve learned about five of the most stunning train routes in Japan that will take your breath away. These routes offer a unique perspective of Japan’s diverse landscape, from lush green forests to snow-capped mountains.

From the Hokkaido Shinkansen to the Tsugaru Railway, whether you’re a train enthusiast or simply looking for a unique way to explore Japan, these scenic routes are sure to leave a lasting impression.

So why not hop on board and immerse yourself in Japan’s natural beauty while enjoying the comfort and convenience of train travel? Don’t miss out on these unforgettable experiences!

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If you’re interested in meditation practices, then Japanese Buddhism is one of the most fascinating schools to explore. Japanese Buddhism has a long history of incorporating diverse meditation techniques, some of which have been adapted from other countries such as India and China. Whether

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

Exploring Japan’s Spiritual Pilgrimage Routes

Are you looking for a unique spiritual experience that involves exploring Japan’s rich culture and history? Consider embarking on a pilgrimage through one of Japan’s many spiritual routes. Japan is home to numerous pilgrimage routes that have been travelled by people for centuries, seeking

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

Folk Beliefs And Superstitions In Japanese Culture

You may have heard of the phrase ‘Japanese superstitions’ before, but did you know that Japan has a rich history of folk beliefs and superstitions? These beliefs and superstitions have been passed down from generation to generation and are still a significant part of

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

Exploring Japan’s Syncretic Religions: Honji Suijaku

Are you interested in exploring the fascinating world of Japanese religion? If so, you should delve into the syncretic tradition of Honji Suijaku, which is a unique blend of Buddhist and Shinto beliefs. Honji Suijaku is one of several syncretic religions that have emerged

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

Comparing Shinto And Buddhism: Similarities And Differences

Are you curious about the similarities and differences between Shinto and Buddhism? Both are prominent religions in Japan that have coexisted for centuries. While Shinto is considered the indigenous religion of Japan, Buddhism was introduced to the country in the 6th century. Despite their

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

Japanese Folk Religion: Blending Beliefs And Traditions

Welcome to the world of Japanese Folk Religion! You are about to embark on a fascinating journey through the beliefs and traditions of the Japanese people. This religion is unique in its blending of different religious and cultural practices, resulting in a rich and

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

Japanese Death Rituals And Funerary Practices

If you’re interested in Japanese culture, you’ll find that death rituals and funerary practices are an essential aspect of it. In Japan, death is viewed as a natural part of life, and it’s treated with reverence and respect. Japanese death rituals and funerary practices

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

Shinto Shrines In Japan: Symbolic Gateways To The Divine

Welcome to the fascinating world of Shinto shrines in Japan – the symbolic gateways to the divine. As you explore the country, you’ll find these shrines everywhere, from bustling cities to remote rural areas. They are an integral part of Japanese culture, history, and

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Rituals And Ceremonies In Shintoism

If you have ever visited Japan, you may have come across a Shinto shrine or witnessed a Shinto ceremony. Shintoism, the indigenous religion of Japan, is deeply rooted in the country’s history and culture. One of the most distinctive features of Shintoism is its

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

The Influence Of Buddhism On Japanese Culture

You may be surprised to learn that one of the most significant influences on Japanese culture is Buddhism. This ancient religion, originating in India, has been practiced in Japan for over a thousand years and has left its mark on everything from architecture to

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

The Concept Of Ancestors In Japanese Religion

You may have heard of the concept of ancestor worship in various religions and cultures, but have you ever wondered about its significance in Japanese religion? Ancestor worship, also known as ancestor veneration, is an ancient practice that is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

The Concept Of Kami In Shintoism

Are you curious about the beliefs and practices of Shintoism in Japan? One of the key concepts in this indigenous religion is the idea of kami, which refers to the divine or sacred spirits that inhabit the natural world and certain human-made objects. Understanding

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

The Role Of Rituals In Shinto Worship

If you’re interested in exploring the traditions and beliefs of Shintoism, understanding the role of rituals in Shinto worship is essential. Shintoism, which is the indigenous religion of Japan, has a rich history dating back to the prehistoric period. It’s a complex and diverse

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

The Role Of Nuns And Monks In Japanese Buddhism

In Japanese Buddhism, nuns and monks play a crucial role in the propagation and preservation of the religion. As a reader, you might be interested to know how these individuals contribute to the spiritual and social aspects of Buddhism in Japan. This article will

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

The Role Of Religion In Japanese Ethics And Values

Have you ever wondered about the role of religion in Japanese ethics and values? Japan has a rich religious history, with a variety of traditions and beliefs that have shaped the country’s culture and society. From Shinto to Buddhism, religion has played a significant

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

The Philosophy Of Wabi-Sabi In Zen Buddhism

Have you ever heard of the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi? It is a philosophy that embodies the beauty of imperfection, impermanence, and simplicity. Wabi-sabi is deeply rooted in Zen Buddhism, and it has been an important part of Japanese culture for centuries. In this

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

The Role Of Temples In Japanese Society

When you think of Japan, temples are likely one of the first things that come to mind. These ancient structures are a fundamental part of Japanese culture and society, playing a significant role in both religious and cultural practices. From the majestic and awe-inspiring

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

The Significance Of Tea Ceremony In Zen Buddhism

As you enter the serene world of Zen Buddhism, you may find yourself drawn to the practice of tea ceremony. This ancient ritual has been a cornerstone of Japanese culture for centuries, and it holds a special place in the hearts of Zen practitioners.

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Religion In Japan
三須 恵介

The Role Of Religion In Japanese Festivals

Are you interested in learning about the cultural and religious significance of Japanese festivals? Japanese festivals, or matsuri, are an integral part of the country’s culture and history, and they often feature traditional costumes, music, and food. Festivals are held throughout the year to

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Couple Travel In Japan
三須 恵介

5 Enchanting Castles In Japan For Fairytale-Like Romance

Are you looking for a fairytale-like romance? Look no further than Japan’s enchanting castles. These magnificent structures, steeped in history and legend, are sure to transport you to a world of wonder. From the stunning Matsumoto Castle in Nagano to the majestic Osaka Castle

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Couple Travel In Japan
三須 恵介

5 Romantic Hiking Trails In Japan For Nature-Loving Couples

Are you and your significant other nature-loving enthusiasts looking for a romantic getaway? Look no further than Japan’s breathtaking hiking trails. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourselves in the beauty of Japan’s natural landscapes. With so

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5 Relaxing Onsen Retreats In Japan For Couples

Looking for a romantic getaway to rejuvenate your relationship? Look no further than Japan’s onsen retreats. These hot spring resorts offer a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, with serene surroundings and therapeutic hot springs that will leave you feeling

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Couple Travel In Japan
三須 恵介

5 Dreamy Beaches In Japan For Couples To Unwind

Are you and your significant other in need of a romantic getaway? Look no further than Japan’s stunning beaches, where crystal clear waters and soft sands await you. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or a more adventurous experience, there’s a beach in

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Couple Travel In Japan
三須 恵介

5 Unique Souvenirs To Celebrate Your Couple Travel In Japan

Congratulations on your couple travel to Japan! You must have had an exciting adventure exploring the beautiful country and experiencing the unique culture. As you prepare to leave, it’s time to think about taking some souvenirs back home. But instead of the typical touristy

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Couple Travel In Japan
三須 恵介

7 Cultural Experiences For Couples To Bond In Japan

Are you and your partner looking for a unique and cultural experience to bond over? Look no further than Japan. This country is full of opportunities for couples to immerse themselves in the rich traditions and customs of the Japanese people. From hot springs

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Couple Travel In Japan
三須 恵介

7 Cultural Festivals In Japan To Experience As A Couple

Are you and your significant other looking for a unique and unforgettable cultural experience? Look no further than Japan, where there are countless festivals held throughout the year that offer a glimpse into the country’s rich history and traditions. From the stunning snow sculptures

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Couple Travel In Japan
三須 恵介

7 Hidden Gems For Couples To Discover In Japan

Are you and your significant other planning a romantic getaway? Look no further than Japan, a country filled with hidden gems just waiting to be discovered by adventurous couples. From Tokyo’s secret gardens to Hokkaido’s snowy wonderland, Japan has something for every type of

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Couple Travel In Japan
三須 恵介

7 Romantic Gardens In Japan For Lovebirds

Looking for a romantic getaway with your special someone? Look no further than Japan’s breathtaking gardens. With their serene landscapes, vibrant colors, and tranquil atmosphere, these gardens are the perfect destination for lovebirds looking for a peaceful escape. Whether you want to stroll hand-in-hand

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Couple Travel In Japan
三須 恵介

7 Unique Experiences For Couples Traveling In Japan

Are you and your significant other planning a trip to Japan? With so many unique experiences to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide what to do. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of seven must-try activities for couples traveling in Japan. From

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Couple Travel In Japan
三須 恵介

10 Romantic Experiences In Japan For Adventure-Loving Couples

Are you an adventure-loving couple seeking a romantic getaway? Look no further than Japan, where you can experience a unique blend of adrenaline-pumping activities and intimate moments with your significant other. From hiking to secluded hot springs to exploring quaint villages and towns, Japan

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