This secluded train line that connects the village of Ounuma and Aizu-Wakamatsu in Japan has one of the most beautiful views in the world, which has given this route the right to be called “the most romantic train ride in the world.”
The Tadami Line stretches 135 kilometers (84 miles), from Aizuwakamatsu Station in Fukushima Prefecture to Koide Station in Niigata Prefecture. The track is incredibly charming, going through rivers, lakes, forests, and tunnels. The train itself maintains its three- to four-wagon structure and a classic look. The views in winter and autumn are absolutely breathtaking. Operated by the JR East Japan Railway Company, the route has been running since 1942.
The line ends in the small city of Aizu-Wakamatsu, where there is a beautiful castle and many more lines that connect to the city of Fukushima.
Know Before You Go
In 2011 rainstorm damage caused the track between Tadami and Aizu-Kawaguchi to be blocked, so technically the Line stops in Tadami. But JR has enabled a small van in the door of the Tadami station that will take you to the next station where the line is operative and you can resume the trip. That part of the line starts in Aizu-Kawaguchi and ends in Aizu-Wakamatsu.
It's important to check the information website of the operating line, as heavy snow, rain, and earthquakes can cause temporary suspensions of the trains.
There aren't many trains (from Koide station there are only 3 departures per day), so be careful with missing the train or you may be stuck in the village for at least 1-2 hours. This also applies to the van between Tadami and Aizu-Kawaguchi, which tends to depart 5-10 minutes after the arrival of the last train, and that won't depart again until the next train arrives.
It's strongly recommended to eat at Aizu-Kawaguchi, as it is a relatively bigger village and the train line is more active (7 departures a day), so it's a chance you get to eat at one of the local restaurants, which are very rural and made home-made food, and take a little break from the train.