As we introduced before in grape Japan, the Kominato Line (operated by the Kominato Railway Company) in the Boso Peninsula of Chiba Prefecture is one of Japan's most famous local railway lines. With its vintage-style KiHa 200 diesel cars in their comforting two-toned orange and cream paint scheme, the rural line runs a distance of 39.1 kilometers starting at Goi Station in Ichihara City and winding its way through 18 quaint and often unmanned stations, many of which have been named Registered Tangible Cultural Property. The line is often featured in karaoke videos in Japan for evoking a nostalgic image of the Japanese countryside.

Photo by grape Japan

Satoyama Trocco trolley train

Although most trains on the line have one carriage, the Satoyama Trocco trolley train, a replica of a steam locomotive, consists of four carriages and is often used for special scenic tours throughout the year.

Satoyama Trocco winter trolley activities

December is a special month for the Satoyama Trocco trolley, since Kominato Railroad Company offers several appealing tours and special winter illuminations. Three kinds of tours which will be operated on four days on December 19th, 20th, 26th and 27th, but first, let's take a look at the illuminations:

Winter Illumination Train

Satoyama Trocco #6 departs from Yōrōkeikoku Station 養老渓谷 at 16:40, and when the sun sets, you'll be able to appreciate beautiful illuminations painstakingly decorated by the railway staff for the passengers' enjoyment. This special trolley runs from December 12th. It's the perfect way to finish a day-trip to the hiking haven of Yōrō Valley.

Kaiseki Cuisine special trolley cruise

On the 懐石トロッコ kaiseki torocco (Kaiseki trolley), you'll be able to enjoy the charms of the Japanese countryside from the trolley windows while feasting on 懐石料理 kaiseki ryōri, a traditional multi-course meal analogous to Western haute-cuisine.

Satoyama Trocco #3 and #4 will make a round-trip tour from Goi Station to Kazusa-Ushiku Station on December 20th, 26th and 27th. In the Instagram post below, click on the right arrow to see images of the Kaiseki trolley which was introduced on national broadcasting station NHK on December 7th. (The first image is the Ichihara Lakeside Museum, which we also introduced in grape Japan)


  • Dates: December 20th, 26th, 27th
  • Schedule: Departs Goi Sta. at 11:12, arrives at Kazusa-Ushiku Sta. at 12:01, departure at 12:19, arrives at Goi Sta. at 13:03
  • Maximum capacity: 15
  • Meet at Kominato Line Goi Station entrance (opens 30 minutes before departure)
  • Price: 6,000 JPY (includes round-trip fare)
  • Reservation page (Japanese only)

Breakfast special trolley

The 朝トロ asa toro (morning trolley) is for early birds. Enjoy a breakfast set with fresh baked goods from the locally popular pastry shop レ・フレール (Les Frères) in Anegasaki City while viewing the countryside awash in the morning light as you make your way to Kazusa Ushiku Station (Comes with coffee).

If you're a train buff, you'll be able to take snapshots of the station as well as the photogenic Satoyama Trocco stopped at the platform. From there, you can continue on the Kominato Line to the scenic Takataki Lake area, for example, as we recommended before, or even further to Yōrō Valley, as we suggested above.


  • Dates: December 19th, 20th, 26th, 27th
  • Schedule: Departs Goi Sta. at 9:09 and arrives at Kazusa-Ushiku Sta. at 9:58
  • Maximum capacity: 30
  • Meet at Kominato Line Goi Station entrance (opens 30 minutes before departure)
  • Price: 1,000 JPY (includes fare, please pay in cash)
  • Reservation page (Japanese only)

By - Ben K.