The Oigawa Railway line runs through the Oigawa River in Shizuoka prefecture. On the Oigawa Railway line, you can ride on a steam locomotive train (commonly referred to as an “SL” in Japan), which is a rare opportunity these days. On the course of the railway line is an impressive span of breathtaking scenery – such as a suspension bridge and hot springs. Keep reading for an introduction to the best scenic spots on the Oigawa Railway Line.
Sights to see on the Oigawa Railway
We will introduce all the spots and points that you cannot miss at the Oigawa Railway!
Just 2 hours from Tokyo!
The starting station of Oigawa Railways, Kanaya Station, is a two-hour shinkansen and local train ride away from Tokyo. The SL line begins at Shin-kanaya Station, which is about a 5-minute walk from Kanaya Station.
At Shin-kanaya Station, you can get up and close with a real SL train car. There is a railway turntable where you can see the SL train spin slowly to change directions. You can see the turntable in action if you plan accordingly, so make sure to do some research before your visit!
Take a retro trip on the SL train
The SL trains on the Oigawa Railway runs from Shin-kanaya Station to Senzu Station. There are other SL trains active here and there, but many of them run only a few times a day or have long break periods. The Oigawa Railway SL Trains, however, run nearly every day, so you plan your trip with more ease and flexibility.
SL Train running through Shizuoka's tea fields
The entire train ride, from Shin-kanaya to Senzu, is about 80 minutes long. At a slow pace of 30 kilometers per hour, you can enjoy every second on the train. Look out the windows for a view of the vast tea fields and savor a delicious "eki-ben" bento box. At the terminal Senzu Station, the train stops for a bit longer, allowing time for visitors to take photos and observe the structure of the SL train.
Yume no Tsuribashi of Successful Love
About 40 minutes by bus from Senzu Station is Sumata-kyo Valley, well known for its hot springs. Much of the area is untouched, leaving a stunning view of the valley’s natural form.
Yume no Tsuribashi
From the valley, there are 3 hiking courses, and in particular the 90-minute “Sumata-kyo Promenade” course is a popular pick. The suspension bridge encountered in the course is called Yume no Tsuribashi, and is said to grant your wishes of love.
The view from Yume no Tsuribashi
Yume no Tsuribashi spans 90 meters in lengths and is 8 meters above the water, which glimmers in an elegant turquoise. The stunning blue is a product of the Tyndall Effect, in which particles in the water reflect off of light.
Japan’s only rack railway: Minami-Alps “Aputo Line”
"Aputo Line" train
The Minami-Alps Aputo Line is Japan’s only rack railway, running from Senzu Station to Ikawa Station. The rack railway is a type of railway that specifically runs on steep cliffs, and here in Shizuoka is the only place you can travel on it.
The Minami-Alps Aputo Line travels slowly through the nature-rich Okuoi region. Some of the train cars have completely open windows, so you can breath in the fresh air as you take in the surreal, dazzling view.
The Station on the Lake: Okuoi-kojo Station
The lone station in the middle of the vast lake is none other than Okuoi-kojo Station. This is the only station in Japan located on a lake. Why the station locates where it does is a mystery to many visitors, and lives up to its reputation as one of the most fascinating spots in Japan.
Okuoi-kojo Station is also a popular love-related spot. The area has a bell of happiness and a wedding venue, and is designated as one of Shizuoka Prefecture’s love-granting “Angel Power Spots”.
The pedestrian area on Rainbow Bridge
About a 20-minute walk from Okuoi-kojo Station will land you across the station at an observatory where you can get a panoramic view of the station and its surroundings. Cross the Rainbow Bridge, a red pedestrian bridge, to get to the other side of the Station for the incredible view.
The view from the observatory
The walk to the observatory is a bit draining, with steep 120-step stairs coming before your arrival. The view is definitely worth the sweat and struggle though, as you are rewarded with a 360 view of the emerald green lake and its surrounding mountains, and in the center a pop of red of the Rainbow Bridge. The view is unbelievable during the fall (mid to late November), as that is when the fall foliage is the prettiest.
At the foot of the Minami Alps mountain range is Sumata-kyo Onsen hot springs. You can go just for a bath, or you can stay a few nights to fully delve in the natural hot springs. Staying at Sumata-kyo Onsen is a great option if you plan on staying in the area.
The hot springs of Sumata-kyo are low in alkaline levels, and is the perfect concoction to leave your skin super smooth. Because of this, the Sumata-kyo onsen is referred to the “Beauty’s Hot Springs”.
There are a few different hot springs to try out in the area, and a great way to do so is by purchasing the Yuragi-tegata pass (¥1000). With this pass, you can try out three different hot springs.
Nearest Station: Kanaya Station 金谷駅 (JR Tokaido Line)
From Tokyo Station 東京駅
【Tokyo Sta.】Tokaido Shinkansen / for Nagoya
→【Shizuoka Sta.】JR Tokaido Main Line / for Hamamatsu
From Hamamatsu Station 浜松駅
【Hamamatsu Sta.】JR Tokaido Main Line / for Shizuoka
From Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport 富士山静岡空港
【Mout Fuji Shizuoka Airport】(Bus) Shizuoka Airport Line / for Shizuoka Sta.
→【Shizuoka Sta.】JR Tokaido Main Line / for Hamamatsu
Stay overnight to get the full tourism experience
There are many attractions at the Oigawa Railway, such as the Tsuribashi, land of mystery, and the onsen. It is possible to travel in a single day, however, because the retro trains do not run that often, you will not be able to get around fully. If you have the time, staying a night at the Sumata-kyo Onsen is recommended.
2-1112-2, Kanaya-higashi, Shimada-shi, Shizuoka
Until last train
Varies by month