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Train rides provide panoramas of landscapes and lifestyles, with opportunities to hop off and meet the people. The tracks run to well-known and less-explored parts of Japan.

Genres: Travel
Station: NHK World (UK)
Rating: 0/10 from 0 users
Status: Running
Start: 2013-05-25

Train Cruise Season 1 Air Dates


S01E01 - A Century-Old Railway in Kyushu Air Date: 25 May 2013 08:10 -

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Canadian, Nick Szasz, takes us train cruising, the best way to travel, on the Hisatsu Line in Kyushu that connects Kumamoto to Kagoshima Prefecture. Known as the Treasury of Railway Heritage, this century-old line has many historic stations and bridges, and is a popular destination for rail enthusiasts. Nick travels along the Kuma River on the Steam Locomotive Hitoyoshi; transfers to the Isaburo Shinpei, which climbs slopes using a loop and a switchback; and boards the black Hayato no Kaze to arrive at Sakurajima. On the way he tastes the local ekiben lunch boxes, and experiences the magnificent natural landscape.


S01E02 - Journey to Highland Hot Spring Resorts Air Date: 16 November 2013 08:10 -

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Climb aboard the limited express that runs between Hakata and two of Japan's most popular hot spring resorts, Yufuin and Beppu. The train slows down along scenic spots to let passengers enjoy the beautiful landscape through oversize windows. Discover the local specialties and the charms of highland hot springs.


S01E03 - Exciting Rail Attractions on a 400km Journey Air Date: 25 January 2014 08:10 -

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A stunning train journey through central Japan, from the Japan Sea coast to the Pacific Ocean. Ride with us and enjoy breathtaking views from the Sightseeing Limited Express, and a special event on a local train. We visit famous spots such as Takayama, where evocative old wooden houses still line the streets, and the spectacular Ise-Jingu Shrine. We also visit a popular museum packed full of attractive railway exhibits, making this program more of a "must-see".


S01E04 - A Fall Trip from Kyoto to the Japan Sea Air Date: 01 February 2014 08:10 -

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Our tour starts in Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital. We first ride on a special streetcar and an open-air tram before boarding a charming local train to the Japan Sea coast. Foodies will enjoy the snow crabs and other local gourmet specialties we encounter along the way.


S01E05 - A Heart-Warming Journey Through the Tohoku Winter Air Date: 08 March 2014 08:10 -

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This time we travel to the cold, snowy Tohoku. We first board the Akita Inland Traverse Railway Home-cooking Dining Car, where we take in the wintery landscapes, while feasting on a homemade farmers' meal. We then hop on the Resort Shirakami to catch a spectacular panorama view of the Sea of Japan. Changing to the Tsugaru Railway Hot Stove Car, we warm ourselves by the hot onboard stove while the snow storms pass by outside. We mingle with the locals and nibble on fried cuttlefish snacks.


S01E06 - Shikoku Railroad Wonderland (Part 1) Air Date: 14 June 2014 08:10 -

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"Train Cruise" is a program taking you around Japan on train trips. The stage of this edition is Shikoku. In Shikoku, made up of 4 prefectures, there are many trains running that have distinctive characteristics. They are fun both to ride on and to look at. Michael Rivas takes a 4-day trip on such trains.


S01E07 - Shikoku Railroad Wonderland (Part 2) Air Date: 15 June 2014 08:10 -

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This program is Part 2 of "Shikoku Railroad Wonderland". In Part 2, Michael travels through Ehime Prefecture. He starts from Uwajima City where he ended up in the first part. He rides the limited express Uwajima heading for his final destination, Matsuyama City. In the train, he enjoys an ekiben boxed lunch with jyako-ten deep fried fish cake, a local specialty. On the way to Matsuyama, he transfers to a local train from Iyo Ozu Station and he introduces the beautiful scenery of Seto Inland Sea (Seto Nai-kai) as the train runs along the shoreline. At his final destination, he rides the Botchan Train which is a reproduction of a 100-year-old steam locomotive. He finds a surprise function of the Botchan Train, which is very popular among tourists. Dogo Onsen, the oldest hot spring in Japan, also makes an appearance in Part 2.

In addition, the latter half of the program includes an omnibus edition of the Train Cruise series. It is a showcase of rare and beautiful trains and specially selected scenes.


S01E08 - Family Fun at the Aso Caldera Air Date: 19 July 2014 08:10 -

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Another edition in our series for train lovers. This time we feature a fun trip for the whole family. Starting at Kumamoto Station in Kyushu, we head towards Mt. Aso. Kids will be delighted with the cute dog mascot for the special express train, Asoboy. The train is equipped with a library with a collection of picture books and plenty of space for families to play and rest. We then take the old-fashioned scenic "Torokko" trolley train, crossing a bridge 60 meters high over a stunning valley amid the beautiful surrounds of Mt. Aso.


S01E09 - Traveling like a local around Lake Biwa Air Date: 27 September 2014 08:10 -

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Our train journey takes you to Lake Biwa, Japan's biggest lake. We board trains cherished by the locals and sample food they recommend. The Gachakon Train on the Omi Railway Main Line gets its name from the noisy "gacha" sound it makes during its journey. We also ride a special summer train that operates as a beer hall on wheels and climb aboard the SL Kita-Biwako that travels the JR Hokuriku Main Line at certain times of the year.


S01E10 - Autumn Delights in Tohoku and Shin-Etsu Air Date: 04 January 2015 08:10 -

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The stage of our train cruise this time is deep autumn in East Japan's Yamagata, Fukushima and Niigata Prefectures. Our traveler thoroughly enjoys both food created from abundant autumn crops and beautiful views of the colored leaves of autumn. In addition, our train trip touches local people's lives by exploring regional traditions. The cruise starts from Shinjo, Yamagata which is located less than 4 hours from Tokyo by train. Our traveler enjoys a boxed lunch filled with Yamagata's autumn tastes and a Shinkansen event train car called Treiyutsubasa, which is equipped with an ashiyu hot spring foot bath. The next leg of the trip takes place on the Oza-Toro-Tembo Train from Aizu Wakamatsu in Fukushima. Our traveler is thrilled by the beautiful colored leaves viewed from the observation car and surprised to meet a cat stationmaster. From Niigata Station, our traveler visits Sea of Japan on the Ryuto Shu*Kura where passengers can sample sake rice wine produced in Niigata, one of Japan's foremost sake brewing areas.


S01E11 - Japanese Culture along the Inland Sea Air Date: 21 March 2015 08:10 -

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In this edition, we take you between the prefectures of Hiroshima and Yamaguchi in western Japan. In Hiroshima, we see some of the famous antique streetcars that have been gathered here from across Japan. We then follow a route linking 2 World Heritage Sites, the Atomic Bomb Dome, which survived the devastation of the nuclear bomb, and the Itsukushima Shrine, a magnificent temple in the sea. Reaching Yamaguchi Prefecture, we go into the mountains along small railway lines from Iwakuni, a town famous for its beautiful wooden Brocade Sash Bridge (Kintaikyo Bridge), with its graceful arches.


S01E12 - A Taste of Japanese Culture along the Oigawa River Air Date: 18 July 2015 08:10 -

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The Oi River (Oigawa) flows through the center of Shizuoka Prefecture starting from the Southern Alps. The Oigawa Railways run a distance of 65km along the river. They feature a nostalgic steam locomotive and a tram which climbs a steep hill. This route draws the attention of railway enthusiasts as a functioning railway theme park. Along the route, we encounter thriving traditional Japanese culture and view beautiful forest scenery from the windows of retro rail cars. Our traveler this time is Francesco Bellissimo, a food researcher from Italy. He journeys along the Oigawa Railways to discover unseen parts of Japan.


S01E13 - Autumn in Japan's Northern Island Air Date: 21 November 2015 08:10 -

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From the Kushiro Wetlands teeming with wildlife to the deep blue Sea of Okhotsk, we travel along the Senmo Line for the 160-km journey from Kushiro to Abashiri, discovering some of the most stunning panoramas of Hokkaido while autumn is in full swing.


S01E14 - The Cities, Mountains, and Seas of Osaka and Wakayama Air Date: 12 February 2016 08:10 -

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We start at Kansai International Airport. In the metropolis of Osaka, we ride the futuristic Rapi:t that resembles something out of a sci-fi movie, enjoy a bite at a local eatery, and travel by the latest streetcar through the suburbs. In Wakayama Prefecture, we journey through rugged terrain to Mt. Koya, 800m in altitude. Here we leave forget the everyday and experience Buddhist monastic life. Then we take local trains down toward the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, we discover a little train that hauls the local mikan harvest through mountainside orchards near the coast. We also meet an old fishing family and a feline stationmaster. Enjoy a journey to the city, mountain, and sea in Osaka and Wakayama.


S01E15 - Visiting the Land of Japanese Myths Air Date: 03 September 2016 08:10 -

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This time, we'll travel on trains through Shimane Prefecture, a spiritual part of Japan where Japanese gods and humans have a strong bond. We ride a pink train to Izumo Taisha, a shrine where all the gods come to assemble. We start our journey asking the gods to help us connect with others. Afterwards, a wide-open trolley takes us through a mountain range home to the mythical snake beast Orochi. Using a technique called "switchback", the trolley climbs up the mountain for a breathtaking view. We then get on a train designed with kagura, a traditional form of Japanese entertainment. We experience an exciting kagura performance about the god who comes to vanquish the Orochi. Travel with us back in time to the mythical world of Japanese legends.


S01E16 - Feel the Samurai Spirit in Kumamoto and Kagoshima Air Date: 24 December 2016 08:10 -

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The Hisatsu Orange Railway runs across the west coast of the island of Kyushu, connecting Kagoshima and Kumamoto Prefectures. Television personality Thane Camus takes a ride from Yatsushiro to Sendai Station. Along the way, he catches views of the blue sea, mingles with commuters and students, and stops off at places they recommend. From Kagoshima's samurai traditions to Kumamoto's hot springs, the trip is filled with experiences to remember.


S01E17 - Hokkaido: Into the Harsh Winter of Japan's Far North Air Date: 10 February 2017 08:10 -

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Into the Harsh Winter of Japan's Far North. Our journey takes place in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, where we travel to the northernmost railway station using local trains. The harsh Hokkaido winter scenery passes outside the windows, treating passengers to dreamy frozen landscapes bustling with wildlife. We even catch one of the few trains in Japan that runs through areas of heavy snowfall, as well as visit a travel lodge built in the style of an old train station, and even indulge ourselves with some famous eki-soba.


S01E18 - Along the Coast of the Seto Inland Sea Air Date: 17 June 2017 08:10 -

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Located in western Japan, the Seto Inland Sea is home to about 700 islands. This episode, we travel from Okayama Prefecture to Hiroshima Prefecture along the coast. The La Malle de Bois train is perfect for tourists with free Wi-Fi and outlets, while the Setouchi Marine View's huge windows allow for amazing views of the ocean. While taking in the beautiful sights, we stop at Kurashiki, Onomichi, Takehara, Kure, and finally Hiroshima, enjoying all that they have to offer.


S01E19 - A Volcanic Peninsula on a Single-car Train Air Date: 16 September 2017 08:10 -

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The Shimabara Railway runs along the coast of the Shimabara Peninsula, which is located in Nagasaki Prefecture in Kyushu. The peninsula is dominated by massive volcanoes and is blessed with hot springs and spring water gushing out in many places. At a seaside station, there is a marvelous view of the dynamic change in the tide, and we can also enjoy a crab dish. Furthermore, there is a beautiful Japanese garden with abundant spring water. We can fully enjoy the journey on a cute single-car train.


S01E20 - Heartbeat of a Northern Land Air Date: 18 November 2017 08:10 -

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Our journey takes place in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, where we travel along a figure 8-shaped route on local lines in the island's southern part. Rising amidst the railroad line is Mt. Komagatake, a stunning mountain whose different sides can be enjoyed from the train. Furthermore, we can see the high-speed Hokkaido Shinkansen, as well as experience a culinary treat indispensable to Japanese train travel, Ekiben. This 3 days 2 nights trip will delight you with Hokkaido's autumn.


S01E21 - Along the Mountain Rivers of Fukushima and Miyagi Air Date: 06 January 2018 08:10 -

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This time, we travel through Fukushima and Miyagi Prefectures, a region that has maintained a close relationship with nearby rivers and mountains. We start off heading north alongside Japan's 6th largest river, visiting a mini steam locomotive and enjoy some river boating along the way. In the city, we find a subway train that climbs up mountains and crosses rivers, and at times offers some nice scenery. Our journey ends with a specialty tourist train and a visit to 1,000-year-old hot springs.


S01E22 - The Treasures of Country Life outside Osaka Air Date: 20 January 2018 08:10 -

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We travel from Osaka Station, the gateway to western Japan, through neighboring Hyogo Prefecture. We explore a rural line that was revitalized by local residents, then travel to the Seto Inland Sea to relish fresh oysters. Next, we ride the futuristic Super Hakuto. At a 400-year-old post town that has changed little over time, we hear tales about master swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Further on, we travel through mountains on the Hamakaze to a bag-producing town where we meet Japan's sole wicker-trunk weaver. At our final destination Kinosaki, we relax in 1,400-year-old hot springs and reflect on the treasures Hyogo has to offer.


S01E23 - Pacific Coastal Life in Shikoku Island Air Date: 17 March 2018 08:10 -

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Luke Bridgford travels to eastern Kochi Prefecture in Shikoku where he embarks on his 200-kilometer long eastward journey along the Pacific coastline. He starts on the TOSA KUROSHIO Railway, exploring the epic nature of the Shimanto River basin. He then boards a Limited Express Nanpu with speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour. He alights in Kuroshio -- an old fishing village. Later in the old castle town of Kochi, Luke gets around on Japan's oldest tram, the Tosaden. He reaches the eastern end of his journey on the Gomen-Nahari Line and his goal, Cape Muroto.


S01E24 - Touch the Skies of Kanagawa Air Date: 24 March 2018 08:10 -

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Reporter JJ starts his journey through Kanagawa Pref. in the naval city of Yokosuka and heads to Kamakura. This ancient seat of political power is alive with samurai culture and history. From there he heads to Enoshima on the nostalgic Enoden line that lazily runs through the streets and along the Pacific coast. Then he takes to the skies for a thrilling ride on a suspended monorail. And for the climax, he rides a train into the mountains of Hakone in search of a stunning view of the heavens.



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