The Ametsuchi train is a special sightseeing train with scenic views that runs between Izumoshi and Tottori in the San’in region.
There’s a special concept in Japan called “Joyful” trains. Rather than being a mode of transport, these special rides are trains specifically designed to enjoy the onboard experience and views on route. The Ametsuchi made its debut specifically with that in mind: enjoy the stunning views that the San’in coastal area has to offer, including Mount Daisen, Lake Shinji-ko, and the Sea of Japan.
The train itself is designed specifically with local legends in mind, and derives its name of the Kojiki, the oldest book in Japan that tells the founding legend of the country. Many of the tales are set in the San’in region. The name Ametsuchi comes directly from the book and translates to “heaven and earth”, and on the exterior is this portrayed with motifs and patterns that reflect local nature and scenes from the legend.
The interior of the train is almost entirely built out of wood, with panels and colours used in traditional Japanese settings. The inside is decorated with drawings that resemble local crafts and nature.
There is special seating available facing the windows, so travels can enjoy the scenery along the way. The train will slow down so that views can be enjoyed to the most, these include the San’in mountain ranges, Mount Daisen, Lake Shinji-ko, the Hii-kawa River, and the Sea of Japan and a wide variety of beautiful views that are of less renown.
A joyful train ride is not complete without a kind of special meal onboard, and Ametsuchi is not an exception. Riders can try a different set up bento lunch boxes and set meals made from local ingredients.
Both meat, fish and vegan options are available. Accompanying the food is a variety of drink options, including local Sake and fruit drinks.
The train is seasonally operated, so be sure to check the timetable before making plans. There’s once service in each direction, with the early train starting in Tottori at 9:00 am, arriving in Izumoshi at 12:31. Then the return trip departs Izumoshi at 13:44 arriving back in Tottori at 17:36.
The Ametsuchi stops makes a stop at the following stations:Tottori, Kurayoshi, Yonaga, Yugi, Matsui, Tamatsukuri-Onsen and Izumoshi.
The Ametsuchi is entirely covered by the Japan Rail Pass, in addition to a variety of JR West passes. Reservations can be made at any ticket window in Japan.
Without the JR Pass, normal (local train) fares apply. A single fare Izumoshi to Tottori will cost 4630 yen.
Tips for riding
- Make seat reservations ahead of time, there's only 1 train service per day in each direction and seats may be sold out quickly.
- For the best experience combine the trip with visits to interesting places in the San'in area, like Izumo shrine, Matsui and don't forget to try a local onsen.