So the Sagano scenic railway is a special tourist sightseeing train line that’s also called the Sagano “romantic train.”
This train runs only in the Arashiyama and Sagano area of Kyoto, and from one end to the other is about a 30 minute train ride.
You won’t be able to ride this train in January or February as it doesn’t operate then.
It also generally doesn’t run on Wednesdays, although there can be exceptions with school vacations and holidays.
The Sagano scenic railway as part of a one day Kyoto itinerary
I did a Sagano scenic train ride as a part of my one day in Arashiyama and Sagano:
- Sagano scenic train from Kameoka torokko station
- Okochi Sanso Garden (+ teahouse)
- Arashiyama bamboo forest
- Tenryuji Temple
- Walk across Togetsukyo Bridge
- Arashiyama monkey park
Torokko train stations
There are 4 train stations on the Sagano scenic railway:
Basically, if you see a “torokko” station, that means it’s a train station for the Sagano scenic train!
How to get to Torokko train stations
The torokko train stations are standalone stations which means that they aren’t connected to any other train line, for example the JR train.
If you are coming from Kyoto station to Arashiyama to take the scenic train, you would get to the torokko station by first going to a nearby JR train station.
All torokko stations are still pretty accessible as they are located pretty close to a JR station.
This means you can get to a torokko station pretty easily.
- Saga Torokko station – right next to Saga-Arashiyama JR train station
- Arashiyama Torokko station – 20 minute walk from Saga-Arashiyama JR train station
- Hozukyo Torokko station – 15 minute walk from Hozukyo JR train station
- Kameoka Torokko station – 10 minute walk from Umahori JR train station
Which torokko train station to board the scenic train?!
Which torokko station is best will depend on how you want to spend your day and possibly also based on what plans you have after the train ride.
But you’ll want to board at Saga, Arashiyama, or Kameoka.
Why get on the train at Saga torokko station – train FROM Arashiyama
This station is the first station on the Sagano scenic train line.
So if you want to ride the whole route, this is one end to start at.
It’s also the most convenient torokko station when coming from Kyoto station on the JR train.
Once you exit the Saga-Arashiyama JR train station, the Saga torokko station is right next door.
When going in the opposite direction, this can also make a good place to get off the train if you’re not staying in Arashiyama and the scenic train is the last activity of the day.
As soon as you get off the train, the JR train back to Kyoto station is right there.
Why get on the train at Arashiyama torokko station – train FROM Arashiyama
In terms of the “scenic” part of the scenic train ride, there’s really not much of a difference between boarding at Saga or Arashiyama.
Between these 2 torokko stations is around a 5 minute train ride and you won’t be missing out if you board at Arashiyama instead of Saga.
But there are other reasons you may want to board from the Arashiyama station, as this can be another convenient train station to board from.
You might consider getting on at the Arashiyama torokko station if you do something like this:
- Kyoto station to Saga-Arashiyama JR train station
- Walk from JR train station to Arashiyama bamboo forest
- Walk from bamboo grove to Arashiyama torokko station – consider stopping by Okochi Sanso Garden and the teahouse along the way!
- Take Sagano scenic train!
So the famous bamboo grove is located between the 2 torokko stations of Saga and Arashiyama.
To walk from the Saga-Arashiyama JR station to the Arashiyama torokko station will take you about 30 minutes, and the route can take you right through the bamboo trees. See the walking route for the visual.
Taking the train in the opposite direction, the Arashiyama torokko station can make a good stop to get off at if you will be exploring Arashiyama AFTER the scenic train.
This is a good area to start exploring Arashiyama.
Why get on the train at Kameoka torokko station – train TO Arashiyama
And then finally, instead of starting the scenic train in Arashiyama at the Saga or Arashiyama torokko stations, you can instead END your scenic train ride in Arashiyama.
This will give you the rest of your day to explore Arashiyama.
So you could do something like this:
- Train from Kyoto Station to Umahori JR station
- Walk from Umahori station to Kameoka torokko station
- Take scenic train from Kameoka to Arashiyama torokko station
- Visit Okochi Sanso Garden and teahouse
- Walk through bamboo grove
- Visit Tenryuji Temple
- Visit monkey park
- Explore more of Arashiyama!
This is more or less what I did, although I didn’t go directly to Umahori. I stopped off at Hozukyo station for a walk around there, and then got back on the next train to Umahori.
If you will be spending the full day in Arashiyama, my vote would be to start at Kameoka!
Get the Sagano scenic train stamp!
When you’re at the Kameoka torokko station, there’s a stamp station so you can get a souvenir stamp.
Get the “torokko beer”
Also at the Kameoka torokko station is said to be the only place you can buy the torokko beer.
How to buy Sagano scenic train tickets
All seats are reserved and you’ll need to buy a train ticket before you board the train.
The best way to buy train tickets will be on the day you’ll be taking the train at the torokko stations of Saga, Arashiyama, and Kameoka.
There are also a few other places to buy the train tickets in advance.
How much does the train ticket cost?
The cost of tickets vary by season.
But you can expect to pay around 600 yen (US$5) one way.
I paid 620 yen in August 2018, and it was listed that prices for April and November were 560 yen, while other months are 540 yen.
“The Rich” seating aka open-air train ride
There’s also a seating that’s called “the rich” seating, and this means you’ll be in the open-air train compartment.
What are the train timings?
Generally speaking, there will be a train that departs once an hour no matter which torokko station you board from.
For updated Sagano scenic railway timings in English, see here.
A bit more of this Kyoto tourist train and the Sagano scenic railway that runs along the Hozugawa River!
HAPPY SAGANO SCENIC TRAIN RIDE!
Use this Kyoto tourist map to plan out your 5 days in Kyoto with the Sagano scenic train!
- Day 1: Top tourist spots with one day bus pass
- Day 2: Fushimi Inari shrine hike through 1,000 torii gates
- Day 3: Philosopher’s Path walk
- Day 4: Arashiyama and Sagano
- Day 5: Kurama Kibune Ohara with one day pass
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
For more on planning your trip to Kyoto, see the 1-day, 2-day, and 5-day Kyoto itineraries. If you'll be in Kyoto in the spring, also see the 1-day cherry blossom photo walk.
Hotels in KyotoSearch for deals on Kyoto hotels here.
For hostels across Japan, try this top backpacker's hostel chain.
Kyoto can also be a good place to stay at a Japanese-style ryokan, like this one. Or if you're on more of a budget, try this one.
Also use the map below to see more hotels in Kyoto!
Shoes for JapanFor summer travel, hiking sandals can be perfect for walking around cities and for many of the short day hikes! See travel sandals like these for women and these for men.
Japan is a mountain country so be sure to get in some hikes!
See trail running shoes too (for women - for men) for other solid hikes including climbing Mt Fuji.
Speaking of hiking, I love this daypack.
The super fast train in JapanIn general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it.
See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
See an example of traveling by the fast train from Tokyo to Kyoto.
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.
My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon.
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
Best travel guides for JapanIf you're at step 1 in your planning process, have a look at this Discover Japan book.
For "books" that won't take up space in your suitcase, see the best PDF guides.
See more of the best books for Japan trip planning.
Cheap(er) flights to JapanI used this website to find the cheapest flight and to book my recent flight to Japan.
Sometimes it makes sense to book direct - my preferred way!
But this booking site will search a combination of airlines, including those who aren't partner airlines, which means that they can help you find cheaper flights by booking individual flights for you as part of one flight itinerary. This can be especially helpful if you're not flying out of a major hub with direct flights to Japan.
I've missed a flight booked through them and it was taken care of with hotel and new flight.
See more tips for finding cheap flights to Japan.