In our Spring 2016 visit to Japan, we wanted to explore Arashiyama, Kyoto and we read about the Sagano Romantic Train on the Sagano Scenic Railway line.
The Sagano Romantic train is a sightseeing train line that goes between Arashiyama (嵐山) and Kameoka (亀岡) along the Hozugawa river (穂頭川). Depending on the season, you’ll either be treated by the beautiful Sakura in spring, lush green of summer, colorful foliage in autumn (紅葉) or white powder snow in winter.
Our train ride starts at Saga Torokko Station, which is right beside JR Saga-Arashiyama Station on the San’in main line (山陰本線). The train ride takes around 23 minutes one way, stopping at Arashiyama Torokko and Hozukyo Torokko before reaching the terminus at Kameoka Torokko Station in Kameoka.
Unfortunately we were a week early for Sakura in Kyoto and the Arashiyama district, so, we didn’t see any cherry blossoms. But we did saw some lovely people on the Hozugawa River Cruise.
We initially wanted to take the river cruise on the way back from Kameoka, but since the view isn’t that spectacular due to our timing (and it’s kind of expensive) we opted to walk to the nearest station, Umahori Station (馬堀駅) and take the JR San’in line train back to Saga-Arashiyama station.
More on the Sagano Romantic Train
The train departs every hour from 09:02 in the morning from Saga and 09:30 from Kameoka Station. The last train departs at 16:02 from Saga and 16:30 from Kameoka Station. On busy days, they would add another train departing at 17:10 and 17:40 respectively.
The train consists of 5 cars, 4 enclosed and 1 open air car. All seats are reserved seats that could be purchased one month in in advance from travel agents, midori-no-madoguchi (JR Ticket offices) or online on JR West reservation page. Tickets can also be purchased on the same day at the Torokko stations. The open air car, or The Rich Car can only be purchased on the same day. In colder months, a stove will be added to car no.3.
A one way trip on the train costs ¥620 for adults and ¥310 for children. Babies under 1 year old are free. The fare is flat regardless on which station you get on or off the train.
Other points of interests along the line
Hozugawa River Cruise
There is a river cruise that departs from a pier 10 minutes on foot from Kameoka Torokko station and ends near Arashiyama’s Togetsukyo Bridge. The cruise costs ¥4100/person
Diorama Kyoto Japan
If you’re a railfan like me, you’ll love Diorama Kyoto Japan. It houses one of the largest railroad diorama in Japan.
You can rent bikes in front of Saga-Arashiyama station and Kameoka Torokko station
Arashiyama Torokko Station
You can go off this station and go through the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Address: Sagatenryuji Kurumamichicho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8373, Japan
Hours: 09:00 to 16:00 (On busy days up to 17:00)
- Adults ¥620
- Children ¥310
How to get to Saga Torokko Station
From Kyoto Station
Take the JR San’in line and get off at Sagaarashiyama station. The trip is around 17 minutes for ¥240. The fare is fully covered if you have a JR Pass.
Take the JR Kyoto line to Kyoto station and continue with the JR San’in line to Sagaarashiyama station. The trip is around 50-60 minutes for ¥970. The fare is fully covered if you have a JR Pass. Another alternative is to take the Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka station to Kyoto Station.