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Sightseeing, How to, Shopping, and other experiences in Japan. 802 Videos
Published on 06.01.2016
Located inside a souvenir shop, lacking ticket gates, and only comprised of a single car, this train in Arashiyama, Kyoto is far removed from the image of a super sleek Japanese bullet train. For many, however, that's the charm that can be found in the Randen (which the video calls Arashi-den), one of Japan's retro “one-man car” train lines which are like a cross between trains and streetcars. While the train may lack modern features like automated digital maps, it hearkens back to a time when cars and subways were nowhere to be found, and these small, direct trains criss-crossed the landscape. In many ways, it's something of a time capsule that you can ride, and provides a unique historical experience not many enjoy any more. The train line was founded way back in 1910, and still runs to this day!
After buying a ticket from the machine (and getting help if you need it!), you'll see that the small station is decorated with quaint art, including a bamboo motif appropriate for Arashiyama's famous bamboo forest. Even the trains are decorated, with the one in the video being a mascot character for Kyoto's best-known souvenir: yatsuhashi. While waiting for your train to arrive at the platform, travelers can soak their weary feet in the nearby foot bath, which is fed with soothing hot springs water and even has tables for you to use while relaxing.
Taking the train from Arashiyama, you can see many of Kyoto's most famous sites along the stops: including World Heritage locations such as Tenryu-ji, Ryoan-ji, and Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavillion). In the video, they head to Kyoto Uzumasa Eigamura (Toei Movie Land) which is a movie set village for jidaigeki, Japanese historical dramas.