Kyoto is a popular Japanese city for any tourist visiting due to its rich history, beautiful scenery and many castles and shrines. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city area, a 30 minute journey by train is enough to get you to the countryside of Kyoto, making it a destination any traveller would enjoy.
Arashiyama, in the western part of Kyoto, is great for those who wish to enjoy the natural part of Kyoto. It is also where the Hozugawa River is located. The river cruise through the white water rapids is a popular activity for those who visit the area, but for those who don’t really want to get wet or sit through the 2 hour cruise, try the Sagano Scenic Railway.
The train runs from Torokko-Saga to Torokko Kameoka passing through Torokko Arashiyama and Torokko Hozukyō on the old Sagano Line which runs parallel to the Hozugawa River. The coaches are open-air, converted from Toki 25000 type gondolas which offer a bumpy but enjoyable ride. The more popular route that tourists take is from Torokko-Saga to Torokko Kameoka, and thereafter returning by the Hozugawa River Cruise, but the train runs 2 ways. RailTravel station takes this journey from Torokko Kameoka to Torokko-Saga.
Torokko Kameoka station is located about a 5 to 10 minutes walk from Umahori Station on the JR Sagano Line.
Reservations are possible but you can buy your tickets on the spot as well. Although operated by JR West, this train is not covered by the JR Pass. Trains depart every 60 minutes.
The train arriving at Torokko Kameoka station.
A typical coach attached to the train.
Car 5, also known as “The Rich” is fully open air with the floors and sides consisting of grilles and a transparent roof. This car is not for use during rainy periods or other bad weather.
The interior of a car. All seats on this train are reserved.
Upon departing Torokko Kameoka station, the line enters the vicinity of the Hozugawa River already.
One of the many rapids along the river.
Being an old line, the train will travel through numerous tunnels along the way.
The diverted electrified double track of the Sagano Line.
Whitewater rafters sailing down the river.
The view of the train and the vicinity.
At each vantage point, the train also slows down so you can snap your photos.
Another rapid along the river.
Part of Torokko Arashiyama station is in the tunnel, but the staff on board will direct you to the front cars to board and alight.
The train uses the new Sagano Line before branching off again into its own station and platform.
Arrival at Torokko Saga station. This station is directly connected to Saga Arashiyama station on the JR Sagano Line.
Keeping in line with the old tradition, the token system is not removed but continues to operate till this day.
The DE10 locomotive from the platform.
The train seen from the platform of Saga Arashiyama station.
The Sagano Scenic Railway is a must-try for any visitors visiting Kyoto. Try it during each season as the scenery will change throughout the year.
Location: Torokko Saga; Torokko Arashiyama; Torokko Hozukyo; Torokko Kameoka
Company: JR West
Line: Sagano Scenic Railway
Fare: 620 yen