Photo: PIXTA/ふくいのりすけ

Ichibata Electric Railway: A beloved local treasure

By Laura Payne

The Ichibata Electric Railway–nicknamed Bataden–has served Shimane Prefecture since 1912. In addition to being a mode of transportation, it is a beloved local treasure.

When the railway was in danger of closing due to declining use in the 1970s, residents and local officials rallied to keep it open. Now, the railway operates trains for commuting and sightseeing while offering unique services.

Anyone who rides this railway today can access some of the region’s most famous sightseeing spots and scenic views of Lake Shinji.

Special trains and services

A blast from the past Photo: PIXTA/ tahoiya

Some trains on the Ichibata line feature themed decor, such as retro wooden interiors or statues of Shimanekko (Shimane’s prefectural mascot). Riding these special trains requires no additional costs because they run throughout the day as a regular part of operations. If one rides the Ichibata line multiple times during a trip, an encounter with at least one of these special trains is likely.

Ichibata is also popular with cyclists because bicycles can be brought onto the trains and secured in designated areas for an additional fee. Many cyclists will ride their bikes one way along the north side of Lake Shinji before taking an Ichibata train back to their starting point.

One of the most popular attractions of Ichibata is a train driving experience offered at Unshu-Hirata station. After receiving instruction on how to operate a Dehani Type 50, one of Japan’s oldest running trains, participants can drive this model themselves on a track inside the station’s train yard. This experience is open to both adults and children.

Click here to read more.

© GaijinPot

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

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