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The most popular modes of transportation in Japan are planes, trains, shinkansen (bullet trains) and highway buses.
There are people who drive a long distance, but it’s physically very tough and expensive.
Since they are just the ways of transportation, the most important point is to get to your destination ASAP and as comfortable as possible.

But wouldn’t it be better if you could enjoy traveling?
Watching the beautiful view from the window…
Eating local obento on the trains…
And chatting about all of those unusual experiences…
They are all part of the excitement of traveling!

In this post, I would like to be concentrate on traveling by trains.

There are many unique trains in Japan which can provide you with a great experience.

Sanriku railroad -Kotatsu train-

The Sanriku railroad is located in Iwate prefecture, in the northern part of Japan.
This railroad started in 2006 and is already very famous. It is one of the most popular ‘kotatsu trains’ in Japan!
Kotatsu is the traditional heating unit in Japan.
A table with a heat source underneath is covered by a blanket. People put their legs under the blanket to warm themselves. Kotatsu are still very popular for warming up at home.
This train has kotatsu seats inside to help warm people despite the wintery northern atmosphere.

Inside cars 

Many kotatsu seats are lined up in the cars.The atomospher is less like a train, and more like a house! Except there are lots of strangers sitting at the other kotatsu tables…

They sell food and drinks on the train, too, so you can really enjoy the scenic trip.

Tohoku Emotion -Tohoku restaurant railroad- 

“Taking the train can be the purpose of a trip.”
The concept of this train is to explore Tohoku through food, art and design.
This is a restaurant train that connects Hachinohe, Aomori to Kuji, Iwate.

There is a live kitchen space on the train to provide meals made with local ingredients. Having a delicious meal while looking at the ocean from a train window is a very rare and precious experience.

The interior is made using traditional Tohoku crafts whenever possible, keeping passengers eyes amazed as well as their stomachs.

The meals served on the train are very traditional. The head chef changes twice a year, while the menu changes four times.
The idea is to encourage people to take this train repeatedly to experience it in a different way with a different taste for each season.

Sagano sightseeing railroad -Trolly train- 

This is a sightseeing train running in Kyoto. It connects Sagano Station to Kameoka Station in about 25 min.

Passengers can enjoy beautiful nature throughout the year.

Kentaro Ohno/Flickr

There is a secret in the 5th car.

The reason why this train is called a trolly train is this 5th car.
This car, called ‘The Rich,’ is completely open-air. There are no windows!

There is always the possibility that passengers cannot take this car because of bad weather, so reservations are not accepted. Tickets are sold for that day only.

JR Kyushu -SL Hitoyoshi-

People can enjoy a nostalgic steam locomotive trip.
This runs between Kumamoto and Hitoyoshi in Kyushu.
The atmosphere is very retro, but inside the cars is very gorgeous.
There is an observation lounge, buffet, and even reading space!
The interiors are very chic and give passengers an elegant impression.

Observation lounge




Reading space


Every train is unique in different ways, but all are made up of great ideas.
Traveling by these trains must help to make your trip more memorable.

Why don’t you take a train next time you travel around Japan?

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