While Japan is undoubtedly a coastal country, with most of its major cities located seaside, there is also a lot to be seen inland. In the Chuugoku region there are several nice trips you can take that will be very attractive to those who enjoy riding trains and want to see a little more of how people in rural areas live.
Hiroshima To Matsue
The longest and most inspiring inland train ride is undoubtedly the one from Hiroshima to Matsue. It takes more than eight hours to complete and is replete with varied scenery from mountain passes, rural villages, and scenic outlooks.
After taking this trip you will have a very good idea of what life in rural Japan is like; the seasonal rhythms, the life-giving rice fields, the interwoven streams and mountains, village communities…all of these bear on the character and outlook of the rural Japanese people.
Even though you won’t find much in the way of English in these areas, the people themselves are friendly and practical and have a bucolic charm all their own.
Yamaguchi Steam Train To Tsuwano
Towards the western tip of Honshu lies the shinkansen stop of Shin-Yamaguchi, and it is from here that you can take the historic Yamaguchi Steam Locomotive up past several small cities to Tsuwano.
This ride, available only on weekends, will transport you back into the 19th century. The steam locomotive and the cars it pulls preserve insofar as possible the feeling that our ancestors must have had when riding on trains in their own time.
The cars have the original style décor, the caboose fantail is open to the air and the locomotive itself whistles piercingly when departing from each station. Furthermore, the country that it travels through has in many respects not changed much for the past century and a half, so it is easy to pretend that you have traveled backward in time.
Rides on this train require an advance ticket purchase and you will receive a complimentary souvenir package complete with postcards to commemorate your trip.
Read More: SL Yamaguchi Steam Train
Tottori To Tsuyama
To begin with, the train line that connects Tottori City with Okayama City goes through Tsuyama. Not only is the ride itself enjoyable, traveling through fields and along a river, but it has some historical significance as well.
This is the route that Miyamoto Musashi, the famous samurai warrior, was brought along when he was captured after the massacre at Iga-ueno. Even now you can – with advance reservations – see re-enactments of samurai fighting if you have a group of fifteen people or more in Tsuyama.