Kyoto Tango Kuro-matsu Train: For Train And Food Lovers | CoolJapan

I have a soft spot for trains. There’s just something about seeing the scenery pass you by and hearing the train chug along, swaying side by side gently.

So when I heard about a train ride overlooking the sea in Kyoto (wait, we can see the sea in Kyoto?), complete with a meal plan during the ride, I was like, “YES! I am going!” The bonus? This train takes us to Amanohashidate, one of the three scenic views in Japan.


View of the Amanohashidate Sand Bar from the Amanohashidate View Land

The Tango Kuro-matsu Train offers four different meal plans: Sweets, Lunch, Tea Ceremony and Selectable Drinking. I went for the Tea Ceremony Plan because it felt fitting for Kyoto. The ride for this plan began at Nishimaizuru Station, which is about one and a half to two hours by bus or train from Kyoto Station. As trains to Nishimaizuru don’t run that frequently, I had about half an hour to myself at the station before the Tango Kuro-matsu ride, but it was pleasant soaking in the quietness of rural Kyoto.

Kuro-matsu Train

The ride for the day!

Interior of Kuro-matsu Train

Inside the Tango Kuro-matsu Train. (Photo from: WILLER TRAINS, Inc.)

I couldn’t stop beaming the moment I stepped into the train because it was so beautiful with the rustic wooden furnishing. The wagashi (Japanese sweets) and matcha tools needed were also already set out on the tables, ready for us to begin our experience. We were encouraged to taste the sweets before making the matcha, so we can appreciate the flavour of the tea better.

Tea Ceremony Plan

Japanese sweets provided by Soukakuan, a wagashi shop in Maizuru that has been open since 1928.

Non-Japanese speakers don’t have to worry either; they have all the essential information in English, from the description of the Japanese sweets served that day down to the names of the islands we passed by. The accompanying staff onboard that day spoke English as well, offering guidance for the matcha-making, help with photo-taking and basically just doing their best to make our experience comfortable.

Teaching us about the tools and how to make matcha

English ExplanationEnglish explanation of the Japanese sweets served on the ride

View from the TrainThe weather was clear that day, giving us a perfect view of the sea.

During the ride, the staff told us about the sights we got to see along the way, like the Nagu Coast and the Yuragawa Bridge. The Tea Ceremony Plan is also apparently the only plan that allows you to see all three Tango Railway sightseeing trains, Kuro-matsu, Aka-matsu and Ao-matsu.

Nagu CoastNagu Coast, with Kutsu Island and Kanmuri Island in the distance

Yuragawa Bridge
Crossing the Yuragawa Bridge

Passing by the Aka-matsu
Rolling by the Aka-matsu. Imagine how this would look at the peak of autumn!

This is going to sound extremely cliche, but the ride was over before I knew it.

Of course, I could have made it to Amanohashidate from Kyoto Station via regular buses and trains as well, but I was glad I did part of the journey on the Tango Kuro-matsu Train because it made every second of the journey so much more enjoyable.

Oriental White Stocks
Lucky enough to see two oriental white storks (designated national treasures) that day!
But I was too excited to take a proper picture.

Friendly Passengers from Passing TrainMaking brief but warm connections with passengers from a passing train.

Sunset from the Kuro-matsu Train
Sunset from the Kuro-matsu

Sweets and Special PostcardJapanese sweets and a special commemorative postcard every passenger gets to take home

Did I enjoy the train ride? Uh-huh. Am I going to recommend this experience to all my friends headed to Kyoto? You bet.

Nishimaizuru Station (starting point for the Tea Ceremony Plan)
Isazu, Maizuru, Kyoto 624-0816

Ready to experience the Tango Kuro-matsu Train for yourself? Access WILLER’s site to check availability and make reservations.

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  2. 2.Amanohashidate
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