All aboard! Last chance for the Sanko-sen

Last chance to ride this picturesque single track line through the Chugoku mountain range from Miyoshi to the Japan Sea coast.

The 108km long Sanko-sen train line connects Miyoshi in the north of Hiroshima prefecture (see our feature on page 12) with the town of Gotsu on the Japan Sea coast. Running through the mountains alongside the region’s biggest river, the Go-no-kawa, the line provides a wonderful and relaxing opportunity to enjoy the rural scenery as the carriage trundles along.

Although construction began in 1926 and part of the line went into service in 1930, it was built bit by bit and the entire line wasn’t actually completed until 1975. The line has struggled to make a profit since the 1960s and by 2014 the average number of passengers had dropped to just 50 a day. Also, vulnerable to flooding and landslides JR West decided to move to close the entire line on April 1, 2018.

Go-no-kawa from the Sankosen train window
Photo: Yamamoto Noriko
[やまもとのりこ]
take a very early drive, it’s difficult to get to the start of the Sanko-sen at Miyoshi in time for the first departure at 05:38. It is, however, possible to make the second departure at 10:02 if you take the bus from Hiroshima Bus Center 06:21 or 07:21 (arriving at 07:28 and 08:28 respectively) or a Geibi-sen train which departs at 05:43, 06:57, 07:53 (arriving at Miyoshi Station at 07:30, 08:57 and 09:57).

Another alternative option to riding the whole line in one go is to hop off at some of the stops to explore and either catch the next train or even stay over and continue or return the next day.

Local expert and author of a guide to the regions local train lines, Yamamoto Noriko, recommends stopping off at the stations to make the most your Sanko Line trip this spring.

See the GetHiroshima Mag here for details about what you can get up to around these stops.

Top photo by: Yamaoka Ryoji [山岡亮治]

Miyoshi → Gotsu

Miyoshi
三次
05:38 10:02 14:11 17:02 19:34
Ozekiyama
尾関山
05:41 10:05 14:15 17:05 19:37
Awaya
粟屋
05:47 10:11 14:20 17:11 19:43
Nagatani
長谷
14:26 17:17 19:49
Funasa
船佐
05:58 10:22 14:32 17:23 19:55
Tokorogi
所木
06:02 10:26 14:36 17:27 19:59
Nobuki
信木
06:06 10:30 14:40 17:30 20:02
Shijiki
式敷
06:10 10:34 14:44 17:35 20:08
Koyodo
香淀
06:15 10:40 14:49 17:40 20:13
Sakugi-guchi
作木口
06:24 10:49 14:58 17:49 20:22
Gobira
江平
06:28 10:53 15:02 17:53 20:26
Kuchiba
口羽
Arr 06:35
Dept 07:03
11:00 15:09 18:00 Arr 20:32
Dept 20:33
Ikawashi
伊賀和志
07:06 11:03 18:03 20:36
Uzui
宇都井
07:12 11:09 18:09 20:41
Iwami-tsuga
石見都賀
07:19 11:16 18:16 20:49
Iwami-matsubara
石見松原
07:26 11:23 18:23 20:55
Ushio
07:31 11:28 18:28 21:01
Sawadani
沢谷
07:37 11:34 18:34 21:07
Hamahara
浜原
06:20 Arr 07:42
Dep 07:43
11:39 17:08 18:39 19:03 21:11
Kasubuchi 粕淵 06:24 07:47 11:44 17:12 19:08
Akatsuka
明塚
06:31 07:54 11:50 17:19 19:15
Iwami-yanaze
石見簗瀬
06:37 08:00 11:56 17:25 19:20
Onbara
乙原
06:43 08:06 12:02 17:31 19:27
Take
06:48 08:11 12:07 17:36 19:31
Kirohara
木路原
06:55 08:18 12:14 17:43 19:38
Iwami-kawamoto
石見川本
Arr 06:59
Dept 07:03
Arr 08:22
Dept 08:23
12:18 13:45 Arr 17:47
Dept 17:48
Arr 19:42
Dept 20:18
Ibara
因原
07:10 08:29 13:51 17:55 20:25
Shikaga
鹿賀
07:17 08:36 13:58 18:01 20:32
Iwami-kawagoe
石見川越
07:24 08:43 14:05 18:08 20:39
Tazu
田津
07:30 08:49 14:11 18:14 20:45
Kawado
川戸
07:42 09:01 14:23 18:26 20:57
Kawahira
川平
07:56 09:15 14:37 18:40 21:11
Chigane
千金
08:04 09:23 14:45 18:49 21:19
Gotsu-honmachi
江津本町
08:10 09:29 14:51 18:54 21:25
Gotsu
江津
08:12 09:31 14:54 18:57 21:27

Gotsu → Miyoshi

Gotsu
江津
05:53 12:34 15:15 16:33 19:08
Gotsu-honmachi
江津本町
05:55 12:36 15:17 16:35 19:10
Chigane
千金
06:01 12:42 15:23 16:41 19:16
Kawahira
川平
06:09 12:50 15:31 16:49 19:24
Kawado
川戸
06:23 13:04 15:45 17:03 19:38
Tazu
田津
06:35 13:16 15:57 17:15 19:50
Iwami-kawagoe
石見川越
6:41 13:22 16:03 17:21 19:56
Shikaga
鹿賀
6:49 13:30 16:11 17:29 20:04
Inbara
因原
6:56 13:37 16:18 17:36 20:11
Iwami-kawamoto
石見川本
7:02 Arr 13:43
Dep 14:00
Arr 16:24
Dep 16:25
Arr 17:42
Dep 17:48
Arr 20:17
Dep 20:18
Kirohara
木路原
7:07 14:05 16:29 17:53 20:22
Take
7:14 14:12 16:37 18:00 20:30
Onbara
乙原
7:19 14:17 16:42 18:05 20:35
Iwami-yanaze
石見簗瀬
7:26 14:24 16:48 18:12 20:41
Akatsuka
明塚
7:31 14:29 16:54 18:17 20:47
Kasubuchi
粕淵
07:38 14:37 17:00 18:24 20:54
Hamahara
浜原
05:56 Arr 07:42
Dep 07:43
14:41 Arr 17:04
Dep 17:06
18:28 19:01 20:57
Sawadani
沢谷
06:01 07:48 17:11 19:06
Ushio
06:07 07:55 17:18 19:13
Iwami-matsubara
石見松原
06:13 08:00 17:23 19:18
Iwami-tsuga
石見都賀
06:20 08:07 17:30 19:25
Uzui
宇都井
06:27 08:14 17:37 19:32
Ikawashi
伊賀和志
06:32 08:20 17:43 19:38
Kuchiba
口羽
Arr 06:35
Dep 06:37
Arr 08:22
Dep 08:23
15:17 Arr 17:45
Dep 18:01
Arr 19:40
Dep 19:41
Gobira
江平
06:44 08:30 15:25 18:08 19:48
Sakugi-guchi
作木口
06:48 08:34 15:29 18:12 19:52
Koyodo
香淀
06:57 08:43 15:38 18:22 20:01
Shikijiki
式敷
07:02 08:48 15:43 18:27 20:08
Nobuki
信木
07:06 08:52 15:47 18:31 20:12
Tokorogi
所木
07:12 08:56 15:51 18:35 20:16
Funasa
船佐
07:14 09:00 15:55 18:39 20:20
Nagatani
長谷
07:20 09:06
Awaya
粟屋
07:26 09:12 16:06 18:50 20:31
Ozekiyama
尾関山
7:32 9:18 16:12 18:56 20:37
Miyoshi
三次
7:35 9:21 16:15 18:59 20:40

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