Kochi has some of the best trains in all of Japan: old school trams, a local train with spectacular views, and sightseeing trains offering top-notch hospitality.
Take a train journey and make transportation part of the fun!
Kochi's stand out tram network
The number of tram networks across Japan have decreased, but in Kochi they are a big part of everyday life! The Tosaden tram network runs from JR Kochi Station out to the suburbs. With Kochi’s famous Harimaya Bridge as a base, the tram network stretches out in all directions, with a total length of 25.3km - the longest total tram network in Japan! The Tosaden also boasts the longest history (starting in 1904) and has the shortest distance between tram stops (only 63m - between Seiwagakuen-mae and Ichijobashi tram stops).
The flat-rate zone within the main city area is 200 yen per ride. However, you can also purchase a one-day ticket, which is perfect for sightseers. The one-day ticket for within the main city area is 500 yen, and for the entire tram network is 1000 yen.
The Gomen-Nahari Line - a local train running alongside the Pacific Ocean
The Gomen-Nahari Line, operated by the Tosa Kuroshio Railway, runs for 42.7km in length from Nankoku City to Nahari Station, passing through a total of 20 stations. The biggest charm of this line is that, for the most part, it runs along the coastline offering incredible ocean views from the train car windows! The most scenic part of the line is between Yasu and Akano Stations. As you come out from the tunnel, the overwhelming view of the blue expanse of ocean and sky hit you all at once. Depending on the time, you can even take a train car that has an observatory deck.
Some trains are decorated with the line’s station mascots that were drawn by Takashi Yanase, the creator of one of Japan’s favorite characters Anpanman. You may notice illustrations featuring the stations’ names and the specialty products related to each area.
Open the door to the world of animation on the Dosan Line's Anpanman Train
The Dosan Anpanman Train runs on the Dosan Line that extends from Okayama Station (in Okayama Prefecture) to Kochi Station. The train is decorated inside and out with characters from the popular kids animation, Anpanman. Furthermore, there are 24 limited spots on the train where the seats and curtains are even decorated with Anpanman, almost completely transporting you into the world of animation!
If you’re heading on to (or off from) JR Kochi Station, then you should definitely check out the Anpanman Train Display inside the station. There are Anpanman train dioramas and miniatures on display.
The scenic journey on the Shimantorocco Train's open-air carriage
The Shimantorocco operates on the Yodo Line, which runs along the Shimanto River and its tributaries. The train features both a regular carriage and a windowless open-air carriage. The open-air carriage is one of the best ways to enjoy the incredible scenery of the Shimanto River region.*
A small trolley loaded with local specialties passes up and down the train, adding another interesting element to the journey. As you gaze out at the beautiful scenery, enjoy snacks featuring locally grown yuzu or strawberries, or onigiri rice balls made with rice grown in the Shimanto area.
The Shimantorocco runs one way between JR Kubokawa and Uwajima Stations, mainly operating on Saturdays and holidays in spring, summer and autumn. The trip takes about two and a half hours. (The in-car snack trolley is only on weekends.)
*Please be aware that there are some sections of the line where it’s not possible to ride the open-air carriage.
Meet mythical creatures called “kappa” on the Kaiyodo Hobby Train - Kappa Uyouyo
A unique “kappa” (Japanese mythological creature) themed train. This train runs daily between JR Kubokawa and Uwajima Stations. You can enjoy the playful kappa theme of the train while taking in the impressive countryside views of the Shimanto River region.
Inside the train, there is a showcase displaying many different kappa figurines. You can also take a picture with the parent and child kappa sitting on one of the seats! Get a closer look at one of the interesting creatures from Japanese folklore while riding through beautiful Shimanto.
A hobby train made to look like Japan's high-speed Shinkansen
The Tetsudo Hobby Train, made to look like the world’s first high-speed train, is commonly known as Japan’s slowest Shinkansen (bullet train). The train operates daily between JR Kubokawa and Uwajima Stations.
The seats on this hobby train are actually the ones used on the 0 series Shinkansen (first-generation Shinkansen that are now withdrawn from service). The showcase inside the train displays models of all the different types of Shinkansen, from past to present, while a locomotive blueprint that’s linked to JR Shikoku covers the floor. By checking out the displays on the inside of the train, you can get a sense of the development of railways in Japan.
*The Shimantorocco, Kaiyodo Hobby Train and Tetsudo Hobby Train are unique trains operating on the Yodo Line, and are nicknamed the “three brothers of the Yodo Line.”
"Shikoku Tosa - Toki no Yoake no Monogatari"
A two car train running between JR Kochi and Kubokawa Stations. The first car, called “Kurofune”, is said to represent the foreign steam ships that local samurai hero Sakamoto Ryoma witnessed at the dawn of a new age in Japan. The second car is called “Sorafune”, and is said to be modeled after a spaceship that you might find in a science fiction novel, with a unique mixture of past and future.
A ride on the Toki no Yoake no Monogatari offers a chance to experience Tosa style hospitality while enjoying the flavors of Kochi with local saké and meals prepared using fresh produce from Kochi’s mountains and seas.