Home Info A Railway Cruise Along Kyushu’s Pacific Coast – The Umisachi Yamasachi Sightseeing...

A Railway Cruise Along Kyushu’s Pacific Coast – The Umisachi Yamasachi Sightseeing Train

Umisachi Yamasachi Sightseeing Train

The Umisachi Yamasachi is a two-car train that runs along a stretch of the Pacific coast between Miyazaki City and Nango on the far southeastern edge of Kyushu. The name Umisachi Yamasachi is quite fitting for the train, as it is named after the legend of Umisachi and his brother Yamasachi, whose names actually mean “Bounty of the Sea” and “Bounty of the Mountains,” respectively. The Umisachi Yamasachi does a fantastic job showing off the stunning seas and mountains of Miyazaki Prefecture.

The train was designed by Eiji Mitooka and entered into service in 2009. Some of the wood and metal parts of the train are starting to show their wear, but the interior is still an excellent example of Mitooka’s signature blending of locally sourced wood with curved lines and smart detailing.

If you board in Miyazaki City, the train will head south through the city before arriving at the coast. A bit of trivia to excite the train nerds out there: this set of track is the longest single-line track railroad in Japan.

Midway along your journey, the train will slow to a stop near a special section of the shore known as the Devil’s Washboard (there is another shore near Aoshima Shrine that is also known as Devil’s Washboard, so be careful not to get them confused). If the tide is sufficiently low, you’ll be able to see a unique ridged pattern in the exposed seabed.

The Devil’s Washboard

Further along, you’ll hear an announcement about that the train will be heading into a long tunnel. The Tanigashiro Tunnel is 3.6km long and perfectly straight, meaning if you head to the front car, you can see the exit of the tunnel way off in the distance gradually get closer as you proceed forward. Conversely, you can look out the back to see the entrance shrink to a tiny pinpoint of light.

Bottles of Hideji Beer Taiyo no Lager are available for purchase onboard. Hideji is one of Kyushu’s top craft breweries and makes some great fruit beers.

The trip ends at the tiny Nango Station. The Seibu Lions baseball team comes to this area for spring training, so the entire station is decorated in Lions colors and insignia.

All-in-all, the Umisachi Yamasachi is an excellent way to see the coast of Kyushu and has been one of the most enjoyable D&S trains I’ve ridden so far. If you’re doing a round-Kyushu trip, taking the Umisachi Yamasachi is highly recommended.

Make sure to get a window seat on the east side of the train to enjoy the best views of the shoreline.

Highlights

  • The 3,000m-long super straight tunnel where you can watch the exit way off in the distance grow steadily closer from the front of the car
  • The slow-ride past the Devil’s Washboard shoreline (the impressiveness depends on how low the tide is)
  • The entertaining Umisachi Yamasachi storytelling time
  • The short stop at Obi Station where you can get off and look around for a couple minutes (on Miyazaki -> Nango route)
  • The Hideji Beer Taiyo no Lager is quite tasty but a bit pricey
  • The pretty pick-a-card game where the staff are genuinely happy and surprised when you win (on Nango -> Miyazaki route)
  • The Wii Sports-esque music that plays when the train passes one of the special view areas
During a quick stop at Obi Station

Quick Facts

Wifi: Yes, but the wifi cuts out in tunnels, areas without service, etc.
Electrical outlets: No
Food: Very light fare (crackers, cheese bun, beer, juice)
Included in JR Rail Pass: Yes
Reservations required: No, but you might as well reserve an A seat to sit by the window
Extra fee for reservation with Rail Pass: No

Check out all the other special Kyushu trains here.

Originally from NJ, USA, Jason has lived in Kumamoto since 2006. He currently co-runs Adastra Co., Ltd. and heads Shirakawa Banks (Shirakawa Night Market, etc.). He enjoys pretending he is playing Gran Turismo as he drives very very slowly up the mountains of Aso in his kei-van.

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