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Romance on the Sagano Scenic Railway

Updated on February 8, 2018

For couples and train enthusiasts alike

Sagano train
Sagano train | Source

One hot summer day in Kyoto, my girlfriend told me about the Sagano Scenic Railway. Also known as the Sagano Torokko. It is a train that wanders through Arashiama just south of Kyoto City, Japan offering a scenic tour of its natural beauty.

Like many of my other Japanese adventures, I was intrigued and had to give it a try. Many prefer to ride Sagano Scenic Railway during the autumn to enjoy the foliage. This is understandable as Kyoto is known for some of Japan's best foliage.

However, we rode in the summer confident that Sagano Torokko would not disappoint us. Sure enough, 620 yen (each) and a couple hours later I had a profound respect for Japan's landscape.

How about a map?

This is a map of Kyoto and the Sagano on a postcard
This is a map of Kyoto and the Sagano on a postcard | Source

What you see above is a postcard I bought and sent to myself from the Torokko Hozukyo station--the second and final station on my journey. It's a hobby of mine.

It's a map of the Sagano Scenic Railway. Running horizontally in the middle of the postcard is the Sagano Scenic Railway itself. To the top (or north) is Kyoto City and some of its most famous tourist destinations. The monkeys at the south can be seen at Iwatayama Monkey Park.

As you go west, you'll see the hills and the river just below. That is the path of the Sagano Scenic Railway as it chugs through Arashiyama. The river is the Hozugawa River. This is what you'll see when you ride the rail. The Honzugawa will be close by.

The Sagano Scenic Railway - The video

The video above does an excellent job in illustrating the experience. However, during my trip there were no singing conductors.

It moves slowly, giving passengers the opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery. Notice how the Hozugawa River has carved a valley into the mountains. Both sides of this valley are dotted with trees. The train has wooden seats to add to the nostalgia. The windows have no glass or bars during the summer so be careful!

Finally, the weather was much nicer for us which is why we took a boat back east instead of taking the JR.

The boat ride back

The Hozugawa River Cruise
The Hozugawa River Cruise | Source

To the right is a photo of the boat ride back: the Hozugawa River Cruise. Taking the train west and then the boat back east is easy to do and popular. The passenger leaves the train at Torokko Hozukyo, the second stop from Arashiyama. This is a small station that sells snacks and souvenirs. Leaving the station, he/she will find taxis and buses waiting.

The passenger takes a bus or taxi to a small pier and boards a boat. There is no official schedule here. The boats leave when they are full or when there are no more passengers to board.

The river flows east and the boats go with the flow. Each one seats about twenty people and has three boatmen who take turns guiding the boat with poles and giving a tour of the area.

The Hozugawa River winds more than the Sagano Scenic Railway so the Hozugawa River Cruise is longer: about two hours. At times things get wet and rocky but this doesn't happen often. For those who get hungry, there are other boats waiting here and there to offer snacks and drinks. Your boat lines up to the snack boat and then you can buy something.

The Hozugawa River Cruise is 3,900 yen.

Kyoto will amaze you

Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, Japan
Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, Japan | Source

The Sagano Scenic Railway and the Hozugawa River Cruise are in Arashiyama--a district just outside Kyoto City but within the Kyoto Prefecture.

Most people visit Kyoto and give Arashiyama an afterthought. If you ever visit the city, you'll see why. Briefly put, Kyoto is a city unlike any other. Centuries ago, it was once the capital of Japan. This is evident in the landmarks and local culture that survive to this day.

Take a look at Kiyomizu Temple above. A tourist will most likely visit this temple on his first trip to Kyoto. Still, I believe that a person can live in Kyoto for twenty years and still be fascinated by its heritage and history. The Sagano Scenic Railway is a small but fun part of it.

Lonely Planet Kyoto (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Kyoto (Travel Guide)

Kiyomizu Temple and the Sagano Scenic Railway... what's next? If you think you've seen it all, take a look at the book here


Saga-Arashiyama Station

A markerSaga-Arashiyama Station -
Japan, 〒616-8373 Kyoto Prefecture, 京都市右京区 嵯峨天竜寺車道町 Saga-Arashiyama Station
get directions

For more information - Check out the links below

The Sagano Scenic Railway is closed every Wednesday, all national holidays and throughout January and February. It is 620 yen for adults and 310 yen for children.

Many people make reservations but this was not necessary for us. Perhaps we were lucky. Don't take any chances, especially in the autumn, click on the link below for more information.

While you're at it, take a look at some of the other articles about Japan.

What do you think?

Is this romantic?

See results

Would you ride the Sagano Torokko? - Does it sound like fun?

Submit a Comment

  • TransplantedSoul profile image

    TransplantedSoul 5 years ago

    It's not the bullet train - but looks like fun!

  • profile image

    Aunt-Mollie 5 years ago

    Trains provide an excellent way to see the countryside without roads and cars. Japan has created a beautiful adventure for tourists.

  • Frischy profile image

    Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

    I would love to ride a train like this. There are not that many left in the world. Thank you for the armchair tour!

  • profile image

    rudimanukwari 5 years ago

    I am sure this place very interesting. Amazing

  • profile image

    kayla_harris 5 years ago

    Yes! It sounds great!

  • eccles1 profile image

    eccles1 5 years ago

    I took a couple train rides in my journey, both were very nice experience.

    Great job!

  • profile image

    hayleecanyon 5 years ago

    As a newbie, this was very enlightening! Very well presented!

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Nice lens! Congratulations on LoTD.

  • Hammocksaustralia profile image

    Hammocksaustralia 5 years ago

    Sounds great! Would love to.

  • lesliesinclair profile image

    lesliesinclair 5 years ago

    Yes, it looks like there's room for much excitement and beauty along the way.

  • profile image

    DebMartin 5 years ago

    Fun. I love your adventurous spirit. d

  • profile image

    HouseBuyersOfAmerica 5 years ago

    No not yet. But It seems to be a great fun...nice hub and congratulations on LOTD

  • MrAusAdventure profile image

    Bill 5 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

    Well I do love adventure and this sounds like a pretty amazing adventure to me! I might have to add it to my bucket list! Well done on being awarded LOTD!

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    This is a wonderful lens.

  • RawBill1 profile image

    Bill 5 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

    Looks like fun to me! I would love to visit Japan some day but would probably go in the winter for the snow. Congrats on LOTD. :-)

  • incenseman profile image

    incenseman 5 years ago


  • delia-delia profile image

    Delia 5 years ago

    Congratulations on LOTD! it certainly sounds like an interesting experience riding the Sagano Torokko through such wonderful scenery.

  • aesta1 profile image

    Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    This looks like a wonderful thing to do. Congrats on LoTD.

  • Stephen Lewis profile image

    Stephen Lewis 5 years ago

    absolutely. My kind of tourist trap!snughead

  • Scarlettohairy profile image

    Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

    It sounds like lots of fun!

  • Karli McClane profile image

    Psycho Free Zone 5 years ago from USA

    I would - it looks like a lot of fun.

  • SpenceG profile image

    SpenceG 5 years ago

    Sounds like a lot of fun. I would very much like to take this ride someday.

  • Faye Rutledge profile image

    Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

    It sounds like fun! Congratulations on LotD!

  • Normyo Yonormyo profile image

    Normyo Yonormyo 5 years ago

    Probably so I could walk the way back and enjoy nature up close and personal.

  • lollyj lm profile image

    Laurel Johnson 5 years ago from Washington KS

    What a great trip!! Thanks for taking me with you.

  • accfuller profile image

    accfuller 5 years ago

    Looks like a lot of fun! Congratulations on Lens of the Day ... :)

  • profile image

    soaringsis 5 years ago

    Yes! Congratulation on your LoTD. Very interesting.

  • fugeecat lm profile image

    fugeecat lm 5 years ago

    It's another thing to that list of things I just have to do.

  • flinnie lm profile image

    Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

    Congrats on LOTD, blessed and added to my lens..Squid Angel flinnie.

  • flinnie lm profile image

    Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

    Hi I would love to do this, thanks for taking me along for the ride. I so enjoyed it.

  • profile image

    pinoyrecipe 5 years ago

    yeah, i want to experience that together with my wife and daughter

  • Annbulance2000 profile image

    Annbulance2000 5 years ago

    Wonderful I would very much like to do this!

  • Rosaquid profile image

    Rosaquid 5 years ago

    It looks lovely.

  • Holly22 profile image

    Christine and Peter Broster 5 years ago from Tywyn Wales UK

    Yes, we rode it in 2007 when my daughter lived in Japan. It was a wonderful experience as was our whole trip to Japan.

  • WriterJanis2 profile image

    WriterJanis2 5 years ago

    I would love to ride it.

  • Earnlat profile image

    Earnlat 5 years ago

    I'd absolutely ride, if I ever visited Japan!!

  • seeker2011 lm profile image

    seeker2011 lm 5 years ago

    Yes. I love rail and I love scenery, what a perfect combination.

  • VspaBotanicals profile image

    VspaBotanicals 5 years ago

    Yes, of course. Excellent lens!

  • BowWowBear profile image

    BowWowBear 5 years ago

    I love riding the rails and hope to ride the Canadian rails with my son someday soon! Fun Lens! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jogalog profile image

    Jogalog 5 years ago

    I would. It would be a great way to see the scenery.

  • OrlandoTipster profile image

    OrlandoTipster 5 years ago

    Most definitely!

  • sociopath-free profile image

    sociopath-free 5 years ago

    Looks like a lovely way to spend time.

  • randomthings lm profile image

    randomthings lm 5 years ago

    Absolutely! Looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Sounds like an outstanding trip.

  • profile image

    Funkysi 5 years ago

    Great lens. This must be interesting.

  • profile image

    Terrie_Schultz 5 years ago

    Yes, it sounds like great fun!

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    What a wonderful romantic journey with both a train ride through beautiful country to be followed up with an equally beautiful boat ride that was even more got extra points in the romance department for this one for sure and memories for a lifetime, congratulations on LotD honors!

  • Diana Wenzel profile image

    Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

    I would love to ride the Sagano Torokko. I can see it is my kind of place and my kind of travel mode. Japan has long been at the top of my travel wish list. Congrats on LotD!

  • ismeedee profile image

    ismeedee 5 years ago

    You've made some wonderful lenses! My friend will be going to Japan for the second time in November and I'm very envious, it's a place I'd really like to go one day. Perhaps I'll be able to ride the Sagano Torokko!!

  • KimGiancaterino profile image

    KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

    Absolutely ... what an adventure! I know of someone who lived near Kyoto for several months. He said the people are so honest that no one bothers to lock up their bikes. Congratulations on LOTD.

  • Kae Yo profile image

    Kae Yo 5 years ago

    What a beautiful place. It looks like a very pleasant place. Congratulations on the Lens of the Day!

  • Travelschooling1 profile image

    Travelschooling1 5 years ago

    Yes, it looks beautiful, I love a train journey, you've given me an idea for a lens about our past travels..

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    I've just added riding the Sagano Torokko, and the boat back, to my bucket list.

  • BestRatedStuff profile image

    BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

    What a lovely journey, would love to take it. Great lens, and congrats on a well deserved LOTD.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    what a trip this would be, thanks for the sharing your experience!

  • Chris Copeland profile image

    Chris 5 years ago from Katy

    Would love to ride that.

  • Heidi Vincent profile image

    Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

    And congratulations on winning the Lens of The Day (LOTD)!!!

  • Heidi Vincent profile image

    Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

    Thanks for the train ride. I visited Kyoto in 1996 but didn't get to do the train. Maybe next time. Thanks for sharing.

  • Heather426 profile image

    Heather Burns 5 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

    I have been to Kyoto but didn't ride the Sagano. sorry I didn't now.

  • Nanciajohnson profile image

    Nancy Johnson 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

    I love taking train trips and would LOVE to see Japan and this beautiful region by train. Putting it on my Bucket List.

  • felixedet2000 lm profile image

    felixedet2000 lm 5 years ago

    To be frank, i say yes. i mean who wouldn't love this natural beauty in the first place?. Great lens.

  • profile image

    SteveKaye 5 years ago

    Traveling through nature can be very romantic. Thank you for publishing this lens. I enjoyed the tour.

  • profile image

    Tamara14 5 years ago

    I'd love to. Very nice story about your romantic ride :) Congratulations.

  • Dressage Husband profile image

    Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

    There are several such small railways, I have ridden the one up mount Snowdon in Wales and the Festiniog too, they are a wonderful ride through the countryt and romantic too!

  • bushaex profile image

    Stephen Bush 5 years ago from Ohio

    Veteran SquidAngel blessings. Congratulations for Lens of the Day.

  • MartieG profile image

    MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

    Sounds like a wonderful adventure! ~~~Blessed~~~

  • TeacherSerenia profile image

    TeacherSerenia 5 years ago

    I just put this lens into the 3 digit hierarchy.

    I gave you the 100th Like for this lens.

    Congrats on the LOTD

  • profile image

    faye durham 5 years ago

    I'd love to do that. It's a wonderful way to see the countryside. Congrats on LOTD.

  • NightMagic profile image

    NightMagic 5 years ago

    I never heard of the Sagano Scenic Railway before now. i would love to go for a ride. I watched the complete video --- gorgeous scenery. Congrats on the LOTD.

  • nicks44 profile image

    nicks44 5 years ago

    It sure does, first chance I get, I'm on!

  • LiteraryMind profile image

    Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

    I love activities like this. Oddly, I never thought of Japan as having fall foiliage. We always see pictures of cherry blossoms in bloom. Thanks for opening my eyes.

  • Cari Kay 11 profile image

    Kay 5 years ago

    Looks so beautiful there!

  • alina nicoleta92 profile image

    alina nicoleta92 5 years ago

    I definitely do and really lovely lens. :)

  • favored profile image

    Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

    Congratulations on LOTD. It's been a nice "ride."

  • profile image

    JoshK47 5 years ago

    Sounds quite wonderful to me - thanks kindly for sharing this with us! Congrats on your LotD, and here are some blessings from this SquidAngel! :)

  • nickybutler profile image

    nickybutler 5 years ago

    What a truly wonderful place! So scenic and calm. Thanks for sharing :)

  • poldepc lm profile image

    poldepc lm 5 years ago

    nice lens...and congrats on the LOTD

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    What a wonderful relaxing way to see the countryside! Great lens

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Yea it sure does sound fun!!

    Amazing lens!

  • profile image

    mediawizard lm 5 years ago

    Amazing lens, and I love the old railway!

  • JohnTannahill profile image

    John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

    The Sagano Scenic Railway looks like a beautiful experience - as you say, not just for romantic couples. Congratulations on Lens of the Day.

  • profile image

    MichaelDubrovnik 5 years ago

    I had once, it was an amazing experience.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Congratulations for the LOTD.

  • profile image

    ikepius 5 years ago

    Yes, I have been reading a lot of interesting things about Japan here on squidoo.

  • captainj88 profile image

    Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

    This is exactly the kind of thing I enjoy doing when visiting places; I want to be able to go out and do some exploring. And I love trains and boats. Sounds like the perfect day trip.

  • SheilaMilne profile image

    SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

    I would love to do that. It sounds a wonderfully relaxing way to see the sights. Congratulations on LOTD!

  • Ardyn25 profile image

    Ardyn25 5 years ago

    Hi Sg. another awesome lens. And yes I would love to take a ride down the Sagano Torokko. Congratulations on lens of the day!

  • bwet profile image

    bwet 5 years ago

    great detailed account of your trip! congrats on winning LOTD too :)

  • Scarlet Spider profile image

    Scarlet Spider 5 years ago

    I enjoy reading your lenses about your travels, they're always extremely well made!

  • kburns421 lm profile image

    kburns421 lm 5 years ago

    It sounds like a unique experience that anyone would be lucky to have! I found it interesting that other boats are in the river selling food since that's not something I've ever seen. Congrats on LotD!

  • Expat Mamasita profile image

    Expat Mamasita 5 years ago from Slovakia

    Congratulations on LOTD. Excellent lens

  • prikazen profile image

    prikazen 5 years ago

    Surely I would :)

    Nice lens, thanks for sharing. Rock on, fellow RocketSquid ;)

  • MJsConsignments profile image

    Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

    Very nicely done! All aboard!

  • Elsie Hagley profile image

    Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

    Nice lens. You used the S, word well with this lens. Great job. Yes I would ride the Sagano, sure sound good. Blessed.

  • Rosetta Slone profile image

    Rosetta Slone 5 years ago from Under a coconut tree

    Sure, why not?

  • SusanDeppner profile image

    Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

    Sure, I would ride. Thanks for the tour. You're a great guide!

  • profile image

    poutine 5 years ago

    I would ride it for sure, given the opportunity.


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