*Last update : 4 Jan, 2021
To reach the Mooka Railway, take the "Nasuno" Shinkansen heading north and get off at Oyama. Then change to the Mito Line and you will be at Shimodate about 20 minutes later. The Mooka Railway used to be part of the National Railway, but are now operating outside of the JR Network. In other words, your Japan Rail Pass will only work up to Shimodate and you will need to obtain separate tickets beyond that. Steam trains run on weekends and holidays almost all year long.
Along the way, there is a small rail museum at Mooka where a retired steam engine is preserved. Mashiko is known for ceramics and a large fair is held every May and November that draws huge crowds. Auto race fans may recognize the name Motegi, as Indycar races in the nearby Twin Ring Motegi were held from 2003 to 2011.
The engine used is the C12 66 that goes back to 1933. The second engine, the C12 325 was ‘sold to Tobu Railways in 2020 as the Mooka Rail company was experiencing financial difficulties in maintaining two engines.
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, the company has stopped selling tickets at stations on the day of departure. Reserved seats must be obtained in advance from the below website (Japanese only)
Reserved seats cost 500 JPY, in addition to the normal fare.
|Shimodate --> Motegi||SL Train 6001|
|Motegi --> Shimodate||SL Train 6002|