21st October, 2006 - The Sagano Romance Train (also known as the Torokko Romantic Train Ride) is a wonderful little tourist railway that operates from Kameoka to Sagano along the valley through which the Hozugawa flows. To get to Torokko Kameoka Station, you catch the Sagano Line () from Kyōto Station which will take about 40 mins and cost 400 yen. Get off at JR Umahori station and walk about 400m back down to the Torokko Station (zoom in on B in the map below).
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Whilst you're waiting you can always talk to one (or many) of the locals. These strange fellows are found everywhere across Japan, and are called Tanuki. Tanuki (Racoon Dog) are a strange Japanese beast - real, yet just as much legend. They're often portrayed like this - mischievous and not altogether innocent. They also are almost always... well... sporting a very heavy package (if you know what I mean). In legend they are also known for their shape-shifting abilities (much like foxes).
The romance train ticket can be purchased from Torokko Kameoka Station, and costs about 600yen. The train departs pretty well every hour, and takes about 23 minutes to make the entire journey down to Sagano. It's definitely a tourist train, with open-walled carriages (when the weather's good), and lots of opportunities to get a great view of the valley and the river. Actually - take the time to enjoy Kameoka first - as it's a semi-rural experience that you may not often get when visiting a large Japanese city.