Riding the Steam Trains near Tokyo

Steam locomotives were pulled out of regular service by the mid-1970s. But a few railway companies who realize the potential in bringing in tourists have brought them back on a limited basis.

Here we introduce four railways near Tokyo that you can easily do as a daytrip from central Tokyo. You could use your JR Pass part of the way to access these private lines, though you will have to buy a separate ticket once you reach your destination.

Chichibu Railway


Easiest to access, about an hour to the northwest of Tokyo.


Scenic views of the Arakawa River.


One round-trip service mainly on weekends (excluding winter)



Mooka Railway


Northeast of central Tokyo


Runs through city of Mashiko, known for pottery.


One roundtrip service mainly on weekends, all year long.


See timetable

Oigawa Railway


Enjoy views of Mt. Fuji from the Bullet Train en route to Oigawa.


Furthest away from the three railways mentioned, however a daily service all year long (excluding winter)


Only operator to have reservations available in English



More information

Tobu Railway "Taiju"


Latest addition to a service of steam trains; began running in 2017.

Near the world heritage Nikko region


Year-round operation, mainly on weekends and national holidays

Two departures per day in each direction.




More details