Akita Nairiku Line

From Akita Wiki
One of the many special trains run throughout the year.
The waiting room at the Nairiku Line Takanosu Station

The Akita Nairiku Line (秋田内陸縦貫鉄道; Akita Nairiku Jūkan Tetsudō - or 内陸線; Nairikusen for short) is a semi-private rail line extending from Takanosu in Kitaakita to Kakunodate in Semboku. The Nairiku Line is owned by a voluntary sector, or third sector entity which is a government funded, not for profit corporation. Because the Nairiku Line is currently one of Akita Prefecture's greatest sources of financial debt, many local promotions are targeted at increasing ridership in order to prevent this line from closing down.

In 2012 the line was given the nickname, The Akita Bijin Line (秋田美人ライン).

The Nairiku Line is the preferred method to reach several festivals in Kitaakita and Semboku which have limited parking availability. Such festivals include the Ani Fireworks in Kitaakita and the Kami-hinokinai Balloon Festival in Semboku.

Rail Line Data

  • Length: Takanosu to Kakunodate, 94.2km
  • Rail Gauge: 1067mm
  • Stations: 29 (including terminus)
  • Double Track Sections: None (all single track)
  • Electrification Sections: None (all non-electric)
  • Closure Method: Special Automatic Closure Method (railroad track circuit detection method)

Form of Service

Aniai Station (pre-renovation), where the Nairikusen HQ is located
Maeda Minami Station, which is said to resemble the station in the movie 君の名は (Kimi no na wa)

One train stops at each station once every one or two hours.

  • Local Trains: Some trains run the whole line from Takanosu to Kakunodate, but most run only from Takanosu to Aniai or from Aniai to Kakunodate.
  • Express Train "Moriyoshi": The Moriyoshi operates to both Takanosu and Kakunodate. Despite fewer stops, a trip on the Moriyoshi Express from Takanosu to Kakunodate will only shave off 20 or 30 minutes in comparison to the local train.

The express fare is ¥160 up to 50km, and ¥320 if the journey is beyond 50km.

The Nairikusen timetable in .pdf format can be found on the official website.
The Inbound (上り; agari) direction is from Kakunodate to Takanosu.
The Outbound (下り; kudari) direction is from Takanosu to Kakunodate.

There are three types of Holiday Free Ticket (ホリデーフリーきっぷ) that are valid on Saturdays, Sundays, and bank holidays.

  • Holiday Free Ticket Zensen Type (ホリデーフリーきっぷ全線タイプ)
    ¥2,000 and allows you unlimited rides all day, to any station on the Nairiku Line.
  • Holiday Free Ticket A Type (ホリデーフリーきっぷAタイプ)
    ¥1,000 and allows you unlimited rides all day, between Takanosu and Matsuba.
  • Holiday Free Ticket B Type (ホリデーフリーきっぷBタイプ)
    ¥1,000 and allows you unlimited rides all day, between Aniai and Kakunodate.

Special Trains

  • Reserved Trains
The Tatami Car in the "all-tatami" layout

Reserved Trains Brochure (Japanese Only)
The Nairiku Line offers a variety of train cars available for reservation. They attach your reserved car behind their normal car and run from your choice of start location to your choice of destination! The prices don't change, so I recommend you reserve the train for the whole line. These trains are ideal for parties, social gatherings, or other functions. Unless otherwise specified, each car is equipped with a bathroom and a karaoke machine, and has a Nairiku Line staff member on hand to answer any questions or problems. To reserve your very own Nairiku Line car, print this application form, have someone who speaks Japanese fill it out for you, then submit it at least two weeks in advance!
This is a rundown of all of the available cars:

The Tatami Car (お座敷車両)
Price: ¥45,000 (one-way), ¥65,000 (round-trip)
Capacity: 40 persons
Styles: 1) all-tatami, or 2) rows of "hori-gotatsu" (tatami with the secret space for your legs)
Comments: This car in the "all-tatami" style is my personal recommendation for ALT parties! In this layout, there is one long table laid out in the center of the train which everyone sits around. The "hori-gotatsu" style, on the other hand, is still faithful to your "standard" train layout, i.e. one isle in the middle with boxed seating compartments.

The Observation Car (展望車両)
Price: ¥50,000 (one-way), ¥70,000 (round-trip)
Capacity: 43 persons
Comments: This one has the biggest windows and is the brightest. It also has an open space at the front suitable for a stage when holding events. The open space can, alternatively, be filled with tatami to increase sitting room. This is also the only car with wheelchair-accessible bathrooms. A refrigerator is also available for use on this car.

The Event Car - Salon Type (イベント用車両(サロンタイプ))
Price: ¥45,000 (one-way), ¥65,000 (round-trip)
Capacity: 1) 53 persons (with bathroom), or 2) 54 persons (without bathroom)
Comments: Wider seats than the normal cars. The middle of the train sports "salon style seating" with seats facing across the isle at each other and tables in between. Because all seats face the center, this car is good for lectures or group discussions. Mics available.

The Event Car - Box Type (イベント用車両(ボックスタイプ))
Price: ¥45,000 (one-way), ¥65,000 (round-trip)
Capacity: 46 persons
Comments: This car features big windows, and rotatable seating. Mics are also available, so this car is suited to events.

The Standard Car (普通車両)
Price: ¥40,000 (one-way), ¥60,000 (round-trip)
Capacity: 60 persons
Comments: These cars are the cheapest and they hold the most people. They are nothing more than the Nairiku Line's rank-and-file cars, so they are not equipped with microphones or karaoke machines. Recommended only for very large groups, or for groups who are not concerned with the train ride itself being any more pleasant than a standard train ride.

  • "Kakunodate Samurai Residence and Cherryblossom Edition" and "Hirosaki Castle and Cherryblossom Edition"
    Every spring, there is a special express train which operates from Hirosaki Station in Aomori to Kakunodate Station. Opeation began in 2000, and the Nairiku Line portion is operated on the Moriyoshi Express trains. At first the name was simply "Sakura Edition," but in an effort to needlessly complicate things (a Japanese art form), the unnecessarily long name was created.
  • Omagari Fireworks Festival Special Express
    For the National Fireworks Competition in Omagari, two special express round trip trains are arranged to and from Kakunodate.
  • 「いぐ来たな~」
    A special express made available at certain times like Obon, New Year's, and Golden Week, when folks are coming back to their hometowns.
  • 「もみじ」
    A special express made available for folks coming from Akita City who want to see some autumn foliage.

Associated Festivals

Many local festivals are either directly sponsored by or work in close cooperation with the Nairikusen. As such they are easily accessible from stations along the line. In many cases traveling by train is in fact best way to reach them.

Festivals in Aikawa

  • Aikawa Station Spring Festival (Aikawa Station; Late-May)

Festivals in Ani

  • Ani Firworks (Aniai Station; August 16th)
  • Akita Nairikusen Vehicles Festival (Aniai Station; Mid-May)

Festivals in Semboku

  • Kakunodate Festival (Kakunodate Station; September 7th-9th)
  • Kamihinokinai Balloon Festival (Kamihinokinai Station; February 10th)

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