Kishu Railway Line

Japan Travel: Kishu Railway Line 紀州鉄道線

The Kishu Railway in Gobo, Wakayama, has a valid claim to being the shortest passenger railway line in Japan. Technically the Shibayama Railway Line in Chiba Prefecture, opened in 1988, at 2.2 kilometers is the shortest, but it runs mostly underground at Narita Airport and is in reality an extension of the Keisei Electric Railway using Keisei equipment and trains and part-owned by Keisei.

Kishu Railway train at Nishi Gobo Station, Japan.
Kishu Railway train at Nishi Gobo Station
Kishu train decorated with Princess Miyako, a local maiden known for her long flowing hair who married an Emperor in the 8th century.
Kishu train decorated with Princess Miyako, a local maiden known for her long flowing hair who married an Emperor in the 8th century

The Kishu Railway is 2.7 kilometers long and runs between Gobo and Nishi Gobo with a total of five stations:
(Gobo 御坊, Gakumon 学門, Kii-Gobo 紀伊御坊, Shiyakusho-mae 市役所前, Nishi-Gobo 西御坊). The single diesel cars take a full 8 minutes from terminal to terminal.

The rails are a tad over 1 meter wide which makes them technically narrow-gauge. The Kishu Railway began life in 1931 as the Gobo Portside Railway (Gobo Rinko Tetsudo), and in 1934 reached Hidakagawa. Taken over in 1973 by a hotel company, in 1989 the 700 meter section from Hidkagawa to Nishi Gobo closed down, though the track remains.

Disused track running south from Nishi Gobo Station.
Disused track running south from Nishi Gobo Station
Older rolling stock no longer in use on the Kishu Railway, Japan.
Older rolling stock no longer in use on the Kishu Railway

The northern terminus is at the JR Gobo Station on the Kisei Line, 40 minutes from Wakayama City.

The JR Rail Pass is not valid on the Kishu Line.

Japanese Railways

Iwami Kagura Line


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