Sumata Gorge and Oikawa Railway
It is often said that it is not about the destination but the journey – when traveling on the Oigawa Railway to the Sumata Gorge and Yume Suspension Bridge both the journey AND the destination combine to create one of the most unforgettable experiences you will have in Japan.
Get away from screens, the pressures of everyday life and escape the crowds by jumping on a classic steam locomotive, exploring the green tea fields, steep gorges, soaking in the local hot springs and enjoying Japanese hospitality at one of the many Ryokan – it is a simple journey into nature that will take your breath away.
The journey begins at Kanaya Station – just 30 minutes from Shizuoka Station or 15 mins from Kakegawa Station on the Tokaido Line. Here you can pick up an Oigawa Railway pass – a 2-day ticket that can be used on the Main Line, the Ikawa Line and the Sumatakyo Bus Line giving you the freedom to jump on and off the train at anytime along the journey and enjoy the scenic stops along the way.
The first big decision you will have to make on this journey is whether to take the Steam Locomotive (SL) or Thomas the Tank Engine (only operates June to September). Both options provide a truly unique experience with the train conductors creating an authentic atmosphere and special themed Japanese lunch boxes and, of course, Shizuoka green tea available to purchase.
If you decide to head up into the mountains on the SL there is only 1 departure on weekdays and 3 departures daily on weekends at 10am, 10:38 and 11:52 from Shin-Kanaya Station (one stop from Kanaya Sta) and it is important that you pre-book your seat on the train online beforehand (check the pdf link below) as the SL train is very popular – especially on weekends, holidays and during the Fall season.
The full journey consists of 3 stages –
- The SL or Thomas the Tank Engine train journey from Shin-Kanaya Station up to Senzu Station
- The Ikawa Line Train from Senzu station up to Ikawa Station
- Bus from Okuizumi up to Sumatakyo Onsen and the hike up to the famous Yume no Tsuribashi Bridge
A 2-day itinerary gives you flexibility to base plans around weather conditions – take the Ikawa train line up to Ikawa station or, alternatively, jump on a bus and head up to Sumatakyo Onsen.
If the weather is good on day one it is probably best to take advantage of the opportunity to get up to Sumatakyo Onsen and the hike up to the famous swing bridge on the first day of your adventure, however, depending on when you go, the bridge can get a little crowded by the afternoon (especially in peak seasons and on weekends) so if you prefer to have the place to yourself taking the Ikawa Line Train up to Senzu station, checking in late on day one and then getting up early for the hike to the bridge in the early morning of Day Two is advisable.
For more information on Sumata Valley in Shizuoka please check Shizuoka Guide