Featured Local Trains & Tourist Trains of Interest
Kochi boasts the tram line that claims the top spot in Japan thrice over, local trains with spectacular views, and all the hospitality you'd expect from tourist trains. Why not come on a trip where the journey itself is a feature!
The tram line that takes the top spot in Japan thrice over
While the number of tram lines across the country has gone down, in Kochi there is still one line that remains an important mode of transportation. This is the Tosaden Tram Line, which connects the suburbs to JR Kochi station. Centered around Kochi's famous Harimaya Bridge, it stretches east to west and north to south, for a total length of 25.3km, the longest in Japan. It is also the oldest still-running tram line in Japan (opening in 1904), and has the shortest distance between stations (63m between Seiwagakuen-mae and Ichijyobashi), making it a total of three top spots it claims in Japan.
The fare is a flat rate of 200 yen within a set area. There are also convenient one-day train tickets for tourists; 500 yen for any tram line in the city or 1000 yen for all train lines in the area.
Local trains that run along the Pacific Ocean; the Gomen - Nahari line
The Gomen - Nahari line run by Tosa Kuroshio Railway connects 20 stations over 42.7km between Nankoku City and Nahari Station in the eastern part of Kochi prefecture. Much of the line is elevated and runs alongside the coast, allowing passengers to look out from the window at a spectacular ocean view. In particular, the view between Yasu station and Akano station can't be beat. You come out of the tunnel and are immediately greeted by a wide blue expanse of sky and ocean. Depending on the time of year, there is also an observation deck on the train where you can feel the sea breeze.
The train is decorated with each station's characters drawn by Kochi-born manga artist Takashi Yanase. The pop-art illustrations catch the eye with motifs centered around each station's local specialties.
Step into an animated world on the Dosan line Anpanman Train
The Dosan line Anpanman Train runs between Okayama station in Okayama prefecture and Kochi station in Kochi prefecture. The train is themed around the popular children's program "Go! Anpanman", decorated with the characters of the series not just on the exterior but inside the train on the ceiling as well. There are also 24 special "Anpanman Seats" where the curtains and seats are also decorated, making passengers feel as if they stepped directly into an animated world.
When you get off at JR Kochi station, make sure you also stop by the Anpanman Train Plaza where you are able to see Anpanman Train dioramas and miniature trains on display.
The Shiman Torocco Trolley, filled with all that Shimanto has to offer
The Shiman Torocco Trolley is a tourist train that runs on the Yodo line that runs alongside the Shimanto river and its tributaries. The train is comprised of two cars, one of which is a windowless open-air carriage, and the other is a regular train carriage. We recommend riding in the trolley car to fully experience the majestic Shimanto river scenery. (Passengers are unable to get on/off the trolley car in some areas.)
During the ride you can also look forward to a little wagon shop selling local products inside the train. Rice balls made with the Shimanto brand Sankanmai rice or snacks made with seasonal ingredients like yuzu or strawberry can be enjoyed on the train while you watch the scenery go by. They also make great souvenirs! The train runs from JR Kubokawa station to JR Uwajima station. The trip takes approximately 2hr 30min one-way, and runs mainly on weekends and holidays in Spring/Summer/Autumn. (The in-train shop is only available on Saturdays and Sundays.)
Meet kappa creatures on the "Kappa Uyo-uyo" Kaiyodo Hobby Train
This is a unique train themed around the "kappa" creature from Japanese folklore. It runs daily between JR Kubokawa station and JR Uwajima station. The train is decorated with kappa enjoying the clear waters of the Shimanto river, colored in reds and greens that reflect the rich natural scenery along the river.
Inside the train is a showcase displaying various kappa figurines. Don't miss your chance to take a picture with the kappa family sitting on the seats, too! This train allows you to view the majestic Shimanto river and rustic scenery along with an experience linked to Japan's unique folklore.
The Tetsudo Hobby Train dressed up as a Shinkansen
This train is modelled after the 0 series of Shinkansen bullet trains, the world's first high-speed railway network, earning it the moniker "Japan's slowest Shinkansen". The train runs daily between JR Uwajima station and JR Kubokawa station. Inside the train, you will also have the chance to sit in one of the original 0 series seats.
There is also a showcase displaying different Shinkansen models from the past all the way up to including the present. The floor of the train is decorated with the locomotive that featured prominently in the history of JR Shikoku. The train has many displays that allow you to follow the history of the railways and trains in Japan.
* The unique trains that run on the Yodo line, the Shiman Torocco Trolley, Kaiyodo Hobby Train, and Tetsudo Hobby Train are collectively known as the "Yodo Line Brothers".
“Shikoku Tosa Toki no Yoake no Monogatari”
This is a two-car tourist train that runs between JR Kochi station and JR Kubokawa station.
The first car, named “Kurofune”, is decorated around the motif of a steamboat seen by Kochi’s hero and the man who played a major role in Japan’s history and culture, Ryoma Sakamoto. The second car, “Sorafune”, takes us into the future with decorations evocative of a space ship straight out of science fiction. The train creates a unique atmosphere of being both in the past and in the future; reflected in the name, meaning "The Dawn of a New Era”. This special train allows you to enjoy Tosa-style hospitality, including foods made with local Kochi products and sake.