Local Railways

Fukushima Prefecture



Fukushima Kotsu


Also known with it’s english name of “Fukushima Transporation”, it’s mainly a bus company serving the surroundings of Fukushima city and the namesake prefecture, but also operates the iizaka line, a 9.2Km long, single-tracked and electrified at 1500v railway line wich connects Fukushima station with the hot springs town of Iizaka, and acts as Fukushima city’s very own urban railway.




Saitama Prefecture



Chichibu Railway


A rural railway operating in northen Saitama Prefecture. It’s 1067mm gauge network is electrified at 1500V and composed by the 71 Km-long main line plus a freight-only branch.

Chichibu Railway operates one of the last regular freight services for a third-sector railway, carrying limestone from Mount Buko. It also operates the SL Paleo Express, a tourist train hauled by a steam locomotive, one of the first of it’s kind.




Yamanashi Prefecture


Fuji Kyuko Railway

Also known by it’s nickname of “Fuji-Q” or by the “Fujikyu” contraption, it operates the 26,6Km-long Fujikyu Line, wich connects Otsuki station on the Chuo Line to Kawaguchiko, on the northern side of Mount Fuji. Originally founded as the Fuji Electric Railway in 1926, the company garudally evolving into a financial conglomerate, the “Fujikyu Group”. 




Shizuoka Prefecture



Izu Kyuko Railway


A subsidiary of Tokyu Corporation, it was opened in 1961 to connect the popular tourist spots of Izu Peninsula to the Tokyo Area, after a ferocious commercial battle between Tokyu, Seibu and Odakyu railways, known as the “Hakoneyama War”.

It operates a single 45 Km-long line that runs between Ito and Izukyu-Shimoda, wich is basically, a southward extension of the Ito Line (itself a Tokaido Main Line branchline). The two lines operate jointly, in fact, JR East (and earlier on JNR) operates regular express services all the way from Shinjuku or Tokyo to Izukyu-Shimoda.




Nagano Prefecture



Nagano Electric Railway


Also known as “Nagaden”, it’s a local railway running in the mountains around Nagano. Originally running a large network of almost 70 Km, due to declining ridership, almost half of it was closed between 2002 and 2012, leaving only the 33.2 Km main line from Nagano to Yudanka.


Ueda Electric Railway


Part of the broader Ueda Kotsu company (itself a subsidiary of Tokyu Corporation), it operates the Bessho Line, a 11.6 Km-long single-track line electrified at 1500V, wich connects Ueda city to the hotsprings of Bessho (Bessho-Onsen).




Shimane Prefecture



Ichibata Electric Railway


Also known as “Bataden”, it operates a 42 Km-long network electrified at 1500V and composed of the main Kita-Matsue line (33.9 Km) from Izumo to Matsue (via the north shore of Lake Shinji) and a branch line (the Taisha Line – 8.3 Km).




Toyama Prefecture



Toyama Chiho Railway


Also known as “Chitetsu”, it’s a rural railway operating south-east of Toyama City, with a network around 100Km composed of three 1067mm “true” railway lines electrified at 1500V DC and the Toyama City Tram.
The Toyama Chiho Railway is relatively unknown, depsite it’s extremely variegated fleet, wich includes the last operating examples of two of Japan’s most famous private railway’s limited express trains: the Seibu 5000 Series and the Keihan 3000 Series.




Ishikawa Prefecture


Hokuriku Railway


Also known as “Hokutetsu”, it operates a small  a 20,6Km-long network made up of two unconnected lines: the 6.8Km-long Asanogawa Line, electrified at 1500V DC, and the 13.8Km-long Ishikawa Line, electrified at 600V DC. Originally formed in 1943 as a government-mandated merger of all railway companies operating in Ishikawa Prefecture, the vast majority of it’s network was closed in the 1960s and 1970s.




Kumamoto Prefecture


Mizushima Rinkai Railway


Operates a network formed of the 11,2Km-long Mizushima Main Line and it’s branches wich connect the San’yo Main Line at Kurashiki to the Mizushima port area. The company operates both freight and passenger services on it’s network, the latters being run with a variety of diesel railcars, including some rare ex-JNR serieses for wich the railway is famous.




Kumamoto Prefecture


Kumamoto Electric Railway


Operates a small, pictoresque 13,1Km-long network made up of the 10,8Km-long “main” Kikuchi Line and the 2,3Km-long “branch” Fujisaki Line. Both lines are electrified at 600V DC.

Originally opened as a tramway network, the Kumamoto Electric Railway gradually transitioned to “heavy rail” operations between the 1950s and the 1980s, but evidence of it’s “tramway past” persist and are still well evident.