Watarase Keikoku Railway (Watetsu)
So exhilarating! Enjoy the nature of Watarase Gorge by riding a sightseeing train
Well known by its nickname Watetsu, the Watarase Keikoku Railway is a local line that runs for about an hour and a half through Kiryu Station (in Kiryu) and Mato Station (in Nikko). It has gained popularity as a sightseeing train that allows you to enjoy the beauty of the gorge that runs along the Watarase River. In particular, the open style sightseeing trains without window glass are popular for letting you enjoy the scenery from season to season from the train windows while a refreshing breeze blows inside (the window glass is installed during the winter). There are two types of sightseeing trains: "Trolley Watarase Gorge" that is an old style diesel locomotive that pulls along the passenger cars, and "Trolley Wasshi" that is a self-propelled style trolley rail car with a motif of the Watarase Keikoku Railway's mascot Watetsu no Wasshi. Both trains operate mainly during the weekend and national holidays during the tourism season.
Spring has cherry blossoms and hana peach blossoms, summer has fresh green leaves, autumn has fall leaves, and winter has a snowy landscape. Each one of these is wonderful in any season, but the best time is to go starting in the early summer during the season that has the fresh green leaves. Just looking at the newly budded leaves sparkling in the reflection in the clear water of the Watarase River is so beautiful that it will purify your spirit. As the summer breeze blows through the train windows that have been left open, you can gaze upon a dazzling scenery while experiencing the vitality of nature.
The sightseeing train does not operate every day, so check the days it is running on the official website before you go to ride it. And in addition to a passenger ticket, do not forget to buy a boarding ticket (520 yen for adults). Boarding tickets are sold at train station ticket windows starting at 11 a.m. one month before the boarding date. If there are empty seats, you may also be able to buy one the day you board.
Along the railway line, there are several tourist attractions scattered in the area such as Takatsudo Gorge, the Ashio Copper Mine, and the Mizunuma Station Onsen Center, along with a retro wooden train building that has been registered as a national tangible cultural property and that has often been used as a movie location, so there are a lot of attractions. Have an enjoyable and peacefully relaxing time on the "Watetsu Tour" while on a stopover during your trip.
- 0277-73-2110 (Watarase Keikoku Railway)
- Business hours
<Trolley Watarase Gorge service: 1 round trip per day> Omama Station at 10:54 a.m. → arrives at Ashio Station at 12:27 p.m., leaves Ashio Station at 1:57 p.m. → arrives at Omama Station at 3:37 p.m.,
<Trolley Wasshi service: 2 round trips per day> Kiryu Station at 9:30 a.m. → arrives at Mato Station at 11:08 a.m., leaves Mato Station at 11:31 a.m. → arrives at Kiryu Station at 1:18 p.m., Kiryu Station at 1:35 p.m. → arrives at Mato Station at 3:19 p.m., leaves Mato Station at 3:30 p.m. → arrives at Kiryu Station at 5:01 p.m. (there are changes to these times from December to March)
- Closed days
- The railway is never closed (the sightseeing train mainly operates on Saturdays and holidays)
Trolley boarding fee: 520 yen for adults, 260 yen for children (separate passenger fares apply)
*Boarding tickets are sold starting at 11:00 a.m. one month before the boarding date
- Payment methods
- Cash only
- Transfer trains to the Watarase Keikoku Railway either at Kiryu Station on the JR Ryomo Line, or at Aioi Station on the Tobu Kiryu Line.
- Official website
- Official website (English)