Sagano Romantic Train 嵯峨野観光鉄道
The Sagano Scenic Railway (Sagano Romantic Train or Sagano Torokko) in the Saga/Arashiyama area of western Kyoto runs along the Hozu River 7km from Saga Torokko Station (in JR Saga-Arashiyama Station) to Kameoka via Hozukyo, and back.
The nostalgic, sightseeing trains run on a narrow gauge railway built in the late 19th century as part of the San-in Line to connect Kyoto with the port of Maizuru on the Sea of Japan coast.
The trains run from March 1 to December 29 every day, but may be closed on Wednesday during off-peak periods. If you decide to get off at Hozukyo there are a number of walking trails into the mountains.
There are five carriages on each train. The one behind the engine is completely open, the other four are enclosed but the windows can be opened.
There are eight trains each day from Saga-Kameoka Torokko Station and eight trains from Kameoka Torokko Station-Saga with the first train departing at around 9.07am and the last at 4.07pm from Saga. Trains depart Kameoka Torokko Station at 35 minutes past the hour with the first at 9.35am and the last at 4.35pm. Fares are 620 yen for adults and 310 yen for children. In high season visitors are advised to book in advance. An extra train may run on busy days.
Hozu River Boat Trip 保津川下り
The train journey can be combined with a trip back from Kameoka to the Togetsukyo Bridge in Arashiyama on a river boat. The Hozu River Cruise boat ride lasts about two hours and refreshments (beer, sake, soft drinks, snacks) can be bought on board. Highlights of the trip are the views of the beautiful, forested river banks of the Hozu Valley, some amazingly shaped rocks and gliding through some small rapids on the river.
The 16km Hozu River Boat Trip is particularly popular in spring to see the cherry blossoms and in autumn to view Arashiyama's spectacular autumn leaves.
Boats run from Kameoka on the hour from 9am to 2pm and at 3.30pm and the fare is 4,100 yen for adults and 2,700 yen for 4 year olds to elementary school age. Times change in the winter season with departures at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm. Departures on weekends and public holidays are irregular, with increased sailings. The departure point for the boats is a 10 minute walk from JR Kameoka Station.
Arashiyama & Kameoka Access
JR San-in Line from Kyoto Station and Nijo Station to JR Saga-Arashiyama Station, the journey takes 12 minutes. Torokko Saga Station is adjacent to Saga-Arashiyama Station.
Alternatively take the Keifuku Arashiyama (Randen) Line from Shijo Omiya Station to Keifuku-Arashiyama Station or Randen Saga (which is closer) and walk a little north to get to Saga-Arashiyama Station.
There are also city buses from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama - take bus #28. Alternatively bus #11 runs from Sanjo Keihan Station to Arashiyama and bus #71 from Daikakuji Temple in north west Kyoto to Arashiyama.
Torokko Kameoka Station, the last stop on the Torokko Line, is a five-minute walk from JR Umahori Station on the Sagano LineJR Sagano Line with trains back to Arashiyama (7 minutes; 200 yen) and Kyoto stations (25-30 minutes; 320 yen).
Alternatively, take a bus (15 minutes; 310 yen) from Torokko Kameoka Station to the boat pier for the Hozukawa Cruise.
IC cards or the Japan Rail Pass are not valid on the Torokko Line.
Tickets for the Sagano Scenic Railway can be bought one month in advance from 10am at JR ticket offices (Midori-no-madoguchi) in the Kansai region, at Kansai International Airport (KIX) and Chubu International Airport (Centrair) and at Torokko Kameoka Station, Torokko Saga Station and Torokko Arashiyama Station on the day.
Related Arashiyama Articles
Arashiyama River Cruise Tours
Images Jake Davies