The Keifuku train is the last trolley line in Kyoto. It runs on two lines: Arashiyama to Kita no Hakubaicho and Arashiyama to Shijo Omiya. It runs on a dedicated path along Sanjo Street for several miles; otherwise, it travels on normail train rails that are not on a street. The line is mainly used by tourists as they make their way between temples and shrines on the west side of Kyoto.
Locally, the train is known as the "randen," which is a combination of two Chinese characters: "ran" (the "arashi" in Arashiyama, which means storm) and "den" (from "densha," or train).
The train is approaching its 100th anniversary, which will take place in 2009. As a result, the stations are being spiffed up--see the new bilingual sign below--and there is even talk of introducing a light rail line that would extend the line from Kita no Hakubaicho all the way to the Kamo River.
The announcement, first in Japanese and then in English, takes place as the train is approaching the Shijo Omiya terminal and thanks us for riding the Keifuku Line. In the Japanese version, there is an plug for buying Keifuku train passes. After a thirty second pause, the high pitched recording tells us to pay at the gate, not in the train.
December 5, 2006.