A Journey by Rail Through Northern Japan’s Backcountry
This small, friendly train offers access to the most unspoiled areas of Akita Prefecture
The Akita Nairiku Inland Railway line is an almost 100-kilometer train route that connects the inland areas of Akita Prefecture. The two-carriage trains (nicknamed the Smile Line) pass stunning natural vistas and historical sites as they make their way from the southernmost station of Kakunodate to the northern terminus of Takanosu. The entire route, encompassing 29 stations, takes approximately two hours.
Kakunodate is a historic samurai town just three hours by Shinkansen from Tokyo. From there, the wide windows of the cars offer views of rustic villages and rice fields, deep valleys and verdant forests. The landscape is spectacular year-round, from the lush summer greenery to the snow-blanketed hills of winter. Locals along the way wave to passengers and, in summer, create rice-paddy artworks that can be seen from the train. The final destination of Takanosu is home to Mt. Moriyoshi and nearby hot springs. More adventures can be had by disembarking at one of the small stations along the way.
Akita Nairiku Jukan Tetsudo
41-1 Shimoshinmachi, Aniginzan, Kitaakita-shi, Akita-ken