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Seasonal Charms of Watarase Keikoku Railway

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Seasonal Charms of Watarase Keikoku Railway


Enjoy magnificent views and attractions along a railway once used for transporting copper

Kiryu City


Running 44.1 km, with a ride time of 1.5 hours, Watarase Keikoku Railway is a local line that connects Kiryu City in Gunma Prefecture, famous for its silk fabric with 1,300 years of history, and Ashio Town in Tochigi Prefecture, which once had the largest copper mine in Japan. About 110 years ago, before machinery existed, the railway was manually laid down for transporting copper from mountain ravines.

Watarase Keikoku Railway runs through beautiful landscapes full of nature, including steep gorges along the Watarase River, clear streams, and primeval forests. Each season brings its own charm to this scenic line. Cherry blossoms along the railway bloom all at once in spring, while brisk breeze and fresh green leaves soothe visitors in summer. In autumn, you can enjoy panoramic views of leaves turning red and yellow, and in winter the stations get decorated with festive illuminations. 



Apart from normal trains, Watarase Keikoku Railway operates two types of “torokko” sightseeing trolley trains, the Torokko Watarase Keikoku and the Torokko Wasshi, which run mainly on weekends and national holidays. Some of the carriages of these trains have no windows, allowing passengers to feel the natural wind and beautiful sceneries with all five senses. 

Mizunuma Station on the way has an adjoining hot spring facility where visitors can relax in open-air baths and enjoy Japanese food. The unique Train Restaurant Seiryu permanently parked on the premises of Godo Station serves meals with pork that has been long eaten in the area and mushroom produced in Gunma. The restaurant has box lunches you can eat on the train. Please try them.


Train Restaurant Seiryu in autumn



How to get there


From Tokyo Station, take the Joetsu/Hokuriku Shinkansen to Takasaki Station (50 minutes), then change for the Ryomo Line to Kiryu Station (45 minutes). From Tokyo Station, you can also take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Oyama Station (45 minutes), then change for the Ryomo Line to Kiryu Station (1 hour).


Kiryu Station: 11-1 Suehiro-cho, Kiryu-shi, Gunma-ken



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