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.
Mooka Railway owns two steam engines; the C11 325 (from 1946) and the C12 66 that goes back to 1933.
Online reservation is not available, but you can get a non-reserved seat at the platform before you board the train.
|Shimodate --> Motegi||SL Train 6001|
|Motegi --> Shimodate||SL Train 6002|