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The Kominato and Isumi Railways: Video Introduction

This video, titled "[4K UHD] Kominato and Isumi Railways in Spring (shot on Samsung NX1)" ([ 4K UHD ] 春の小湊鉄道といすみ鉄道 - Kominato railway and Isumi railway in Spring - (shot on Samsung NX1), was uploaded by "AQUA Geo Graphic."

The video shows the Kominato Railway (小湊鉄道, kominato tetsudo) and Isumi Railway (いすみ鉄道)—which run across Chiba prefecture's Boso Peninsula—in spring. No matter your age or where you come from, this is definitely a place you'll want to check out, especially if you’re a train enthusiast.

Visible in the window across from the train driver are the figures of excited children. Check out this uplifting three-and-a-half-minute video, filled with pink cherry blossoms and vibrant yellow rapeseed blossoms.
[Video] 1:28 - Cherry Blossoms, Rapeseed, and the Smiling Faces of Children

The Difference Between the Isumi and Kominato Railways

Image of Kominato Railway
Photo:Kominato Railway

The Isumi Railway covers around 27 kilometers on the JR Boso line (JR房総線, JR Bososen), stretching from Ohara station (大原駅, ohara-eki) to Kazusa-Nakano station (上総中野駅, kazusanakano-eki). The Kominato Railway makes up around 39 kilometers of the JR Uchibo line (JR内房線, JR uchibo sen) between Goi station (五井駅, goi-eki) and Kazusa-Nakano Station. The two railways meet at Kazusa-Nakano station, and if you switch trains there, it's possible to ride across the entire Boso peninsula—just the right distance for a railway day trip. There's even a "Boso Coast to Coast Commemorative Ticket" (房総横断記念乗車券, boso odan kinen joshaken) available as a souvenir via a collaboration between the two companies.

If you're visiting from Tokyo, it should take a little under an hour via the JR Sobu Rapid (JR総武快速線) and Uchibo lines. Arriving at Chiba's Goi station, a walk across the bridge will take you to the local line (the Kominato railway) and the start of your journey. In a location that can be enjoyed as a day trip from downtown Tokyo, those with train-loving kids can have an enjoyable day out as well.

Cherry Blossoms & the Nanohana Ressha on the Isumi Railway

Most famous amongst the Isumi railways trains is the "Nanohana Ressha," (菜の花列車, lit. 'Rapeseed Train'), whose rolling stock is yellow, just like the rapeseed blossoms. The best time to see the rapeseed that lines the railway and is famous for its incredible views is between early March and early April of each year.

From late March, the cherry blossoms are in season, and by early April you can see beautiful scenes of cherry blossom in full bloom. Keep an eye on the cherry blossom bloom maps and enjoy both cherry blossoms and rapeseed blossoms from the window of a train.

The Best Spots to Photograph the Isumi Railway's Rape Blossoms & Cherry Blossoms!

Image of Isumi Railway
Photo:Isumi Railway

On the Isumi Railway between Kazusa-Azuma Station (上総東駅, kazusa azusa-eki) and Nittano Station (新田野駅, nittano-eki), Shiromiaoka Station (城見ヶ丘駅, shiromigaoka-eki) and Otaki Station (大多喜駅, otaki-eki), as well between as Fusamoto station (総元駅, fusamoto-eki) and Nishihata Station (西畑駅, nishihata-eki), you can see rapeseed blossoms and cherry blossoms competing for the spotlight. See if you can't capture a shot of the pinks and yellows under the blue skies of spring.

Rapeseed blossoms bloom along 15 kilometers of the Isumi Railway's 27-kilometer span, meaning you can enjoy them along almost the entire length of the track. If you're a train enthusiast, finding the best photo spot is part of the fun!

The Isumi Railway is often compared to Moomin Valley in Japan. The comparison originates from the Moomin Train (ムーミン列車, mumin ressha) which operated on the line until March 2019. Apparently at the time there was a Snufkin Lake, and statues of popular characters such as the Moomins, Little My, and Snufkin, in addition to the Moomin-themed trains. There's no doubt that the lush scenery was a good match for the world of the Moomins as well.

The Best Spots to Photograph the Kominato Railway

Image of Kominato Railway's Satoyama Romantic Train
Photo:Kominato Railway's Satoyama Romantic Train

Kominato Railway's Satoyama Romantic Train (里山トロッコ, satoyama torokko) is hugely popular with tourists. Rail enthusiasts gather from across Japan to get a photo of the sightseeing train against the backdrop of the rapeseed blossom fields. A particularly notable photo spot is the Ishigami Rapeseed Blossom Field (石神菜の花畑, ishigami nanohana-batake), which allows visitors to take some really incredible photos.

■ Ishigami Rapeseed Blossom Field | Chiba, Ichihara, Ishigami, 225
If you get off part way along the Kominato Railway, you'll find Yorokeikoku Station (養老渓谷駅, yoro keikoku eki), where there is a footbath that is available free of charge when using the railroad. It's a 15-minute walk from the station.

People visiting by car can use the parking lot by the road—from which there are several superb photo spots within a few minutes' walk—and wait for the sightseeing train. Incredibly, the sightseeing train actually slows down as it passes through the middle of the rapeseed blossom fields—a show of consideration for railway enthusiasts.
[Video] 2:18 - The Sightseeing Train Passing Through Rapeseed Blossom Fields

Additionally, within the wooden station building of Tsukizaki Station (月崎駅, tsukizaki-eki) is Mori Radio Station (森ラジオステーション, mori rajio suteshon), a popular tourist attraction also known as "Mori Radio" (森ラジオ, mori rajio). The building, which was originally a filling station for railroad maintenance workers of the Kominato Railway, was exhibited as an art installation covered with moss and wildflowers during the Naka-boso International Art Festival's (中房総国際芸術祭, nakaboso kokusai geijutusai) Ichihara Art x Mix (いちはらアートxミックス, ichihara ato x mikkusu) event in 2014. Its atmospheric appearance makes it a popular spot for tourists even now.
[Video] 2:53 - Mori Radio Station, Covered in Moss and Wild Grasses

Another recommended stop on the Kominato Railway is Itabu Station (飯給駅, itabu-eki). Known as the "world's largest toilet," the spot is quite popular during the daytime. It's a single toilet, surrounded by glass walls that was created as an art installation.
At night, the station is popular as a place to take photos of the illuminated cherry blossoms along with the trains.

Sightseeing Along the Kominato and Isumi Railways

While the cherry blossoms and rapeseed are of course beautiful, they're best enjoyed between visits to various tourist attractions along the railway lines. Below is a list of several tourist attractions you can consider visiting along the railways.

Yoro Valley (Yorokeikoku Station)
Yoro Valley (Yoro Gorge) is one of the most famous hot spring areas in Chiba Prefecture, and is located roughly in the middle of the Boso Peninsula. The valley is home to numerous waterfalls with popular hiking courses and during the fall, it's a great place to enjoy the autumn leaves.

Kasamori Temple (Kazusa-Ushiku Station)
This temple sits atop a large boulder and features a unique architectural style. Founded in 784 AD, the temple has been dubbed the "Temple of Prayer and Fragrance" thanks to the lovely scent of the flowers that cover the temple grounds.

Hours: April - September: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm, October - March: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Admission Fee: Adults: 300 yen, Children: 100 yen

Otaki Castle (Otaki Station)
Otaki Castle is said to have been built in 1521 by Honda Tadakatsu, one of the "Four Heavenly Kings of the Tokugawa." Although the castle was demolished in 1871, the ruins of the castle were designated as a historical site in 1966 and the castle tower was rebuilt in 1975.

Hours: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Closures: Irregular (Please check the official website)
Admission Fee: Adults: 200 yen, High school and university students: 100yen, Elementary and middle school students, seniors (65+), and those with disabilities: Free

There are many other spots along the railway lines to check out, so if you see something that looks interesting, don't be afraid to hop off the train and explore!

Summary of the Kominata and Isumi Railways in Spring

The sight of trains reflected in rice paddys and the spring rapeseed and cherry blossoms featured in the video are enough to capture anyone's heart, railway fan or not. There are plenty of wonderful hotels and ryokan (Japanese style inns) in the surrounding area. Even if you usually travel by car, consider booking a trip across the Boso peninsula by train! Take in the fresh spring air and relaxing scenery from the window of your carriage.

Written By
Last Updated : Apr. 1, 2023
山田コウスケ(Kosuke Yamada)
Born in Fukuoka Prefecture. I enjoy grabbing drinks and making travel plans.
Isumi Railway & Kominato Railways of Chiba, Japan – 2 Popular Spots to See Cherry Blossoms and Rapeseed! If You're a Train Enthusiast, This Is a Spot You Don't Want to Miss!
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