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Romance on the Sagano Scenic Railway

Updated on April 15, 2021
SgtCecil profile image

I am an expat living in Japan. Every day is an adventure and a blessing. Here are some of my most memorable experiences.

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.

Saga-Arashiyama Station

Saga-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?

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • profile image


      8 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


      8 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


      8 years ago

      I am sure this place very interesting. Amazing

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes! It sounds great!

    • eccles1 profile image


      8 years ago

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

      Great job!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice lens! Congratulations on LoTD.

    • Hammocksaustralia profile image


      8 years ago

      Sounds great! Would love to.

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Fun. I love your adventurous spirit. d

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • MrAusAdventure profile image


      8 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


      8 years ago

      This is a wonderful lens.

    • RawBill1 profile image


      8 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


      8 years ago


    • delia-delia profile image


      8 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 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

    • Stephen Lewis profile image

      Stephen Lewis 

      8 years ago

      absolutely. My kind of tourist trap!snughead

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      8 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      It sounds like lots of fun!

    • Karli McClane profile image

      Karli McClane 

      8 years ago from USA

      I would - it looks like a lot of fun.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 

      8 years ago from Concord VA

      It sounds like fun! Congratulations on LotD!

    • Normyo Yonormyo profile image

      Normyo Yonormyo 

      8 years ago

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

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 

      8 years ago from Washington KS

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

    • accfuller profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes! Congratulation on your LoTD. Very interesting.

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 

      8 years ago

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

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 

      8 years ago from Alabama USA

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

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 

      8 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


      8 years ago

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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wonderful I would very much like to do this!

    • Rosaquid profile image


      8 years ago

      It looks lovely.

    • Holly22 profile image

      Christine and Peter Broster 

      8 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


      8 years ago

      I would love to ride it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      seeker2011 lm 

      8 years ago

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

    • VspaBotanicals profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes, of course. Excellent lens!

    • BowWowBear profile image


      8 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


      8 years ago

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

    • OrlandoTipster profile image


      8 years ago

      Most definitely!

    • sociopath-free profile image


      8 years ago

      Looks like a lovely way to spend time.

    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 

      8 years ago

      Absolutely! Looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Sounds like an outstanding trip.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens. This must be interesting.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes, it sounds like great fun!

    • profile image


      8 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 

      8 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!

    • profile image


      8 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


      8 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.

    • profile image

      Kae Yo 

      8 years ago

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

    • Travelschooling1 profile image


      8 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


      8 years ago

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

    • BestRatedStuff profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • Chris Copeland profile image


      8 years ago from Katy

      Would love to ride that.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 

      8 years ago from GRENADA

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

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 

      8 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 

      8 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 

      8 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.

    • profile image

      felixedet2000 lm 

      8 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


      8 years ago

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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 

      8 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 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      Veteran SquidAngel blessings. Congratulations for Lens of the Day.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 

      8 years ago from Jersey Shore

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

    • TeacherSerenia profile image


      8 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 

      8 years ago

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

    • NightMagic profile image


      8 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


      8 years ago

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

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      8 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


      8 years ago

      Looks so beautiful there!

    • profile image

      alina nicoleta92 

      8 years ago

      I definitely do and really lovely lens. :)

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      8 years ago from USA

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

    • profile image


      8 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! :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 

      8 years ago

      nice lens...and congrats on the LOTD

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Yea it sure does sound fun!!

      Amazing lens!

    • profile image

      mediawizard lm 

      8 years ago

      Amazing lens, and I love the old railway!

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 

      8 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


      8 years ago

      I had once, it was an amazing experience.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Congratulations for the LOTD.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      8 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


      8 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


      8 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


      8 years ago

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

    • Scarlet Spider profile image

      Scarlet Spider 

      8 years ago

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

    • kburns421 lm profile image

      kburns421 lm 

      8 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 

      8 years ago from Thailand

      Congratulations on LOTD. Excellent lens

    • prikazen profile image


      8 years ago

      Surely I would :)

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

    • MJsConsignments profile image


      8 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      Very nicely done! All aboard!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      8 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 

      8 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      Sure, why not?

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      8 years ago from Arkansas USA

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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I would ride it for sure, given the opportunity.


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