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SL Ginga (ginga: galaxy) is a steam locomotive in Iwate prefecture that started operating in 1989 and was affectionately called "SL Ginga Dream Line" back then. Although "SL Ginga Dream Line" stopped running in 2001, causing many to grieve as they bade goodbye, it restarted its operation in 2014 following the great earthquake of east Japan in 2011, as a light of hope for recovery! It currently runs once a week between Hanamaki Station and Kamaishi Station, making one round trip in two days. The steam locomotive currently running as the new SL Ginga is a class C58 239 built in 1940. Even the interior of the train is vintage which makes you feel as if you've traveled back in time.
- 1-43-2 Odori, Hanamaki-shi, Iwate
- Contact No.
- JR East Japan Hanamaki Station, Shin-hanamaki station, Tsuchizawa Station, Miyamori Station, Tono Station, Kamiarisu Station, Rikuchu-ohashi Station, Kamaishi Station
- Opening Hours / Holidays
- Saturdays (towards Kamaishi Station): Departs JR Hanamaki Station at 10:37-Arrives at JR Kamaishi Station at 15:07
Sundays (towards Hanamaki Station): Departs JR Kamaishi Station at 10:55-Arrives at JR Hanamaki Station at 15:20
- Official Website
- Admission fee
- Reserved seat adults 820 yen, children 410 yen (train fare separate)
- Other Information
- *Operating hours and dates may change, so please check website for details.
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
Class C58 239
The class C58 239 steam locomotive running as SL Ginga was built in 1940 and retired in 1972, and for the majority operated within Iwate prefecture. After its retirement, it was preserved inside the Iwate Prefecture Transportation Park; however, once the planning for the resumption plan began, this train was selected for its well preserved condition and was successfully recovered after thorough repair.
Inspired by Kenji Miyazawa's "Night on the Galactic Railroad"
"Night on the Galactic Railroad" by Kenji Miyazawa from Hanamaki, Iwate, is a story about a boy and his friend traveling on the galactic railroad. The design of the SL Ginga was inspired by the "Night on the Galactic Railroad" and the culture and nature of the Tohoku region. Especially the interior depicts the worldview of the early 1900s when Kenji Miyazawa lived, and gives out a modern atmosphere.
SL Ginga Bento Box
Once on board of the SL Ginga, we would like to recommend the Ekiben (train lunch box) SL Ginga Bento as a companion for your trip. These bento boxes filled with local tastes from along the train route such as the cooked rice that was popular in the time of steam locomotives and Hanamaki specialty kinkonzuke (pickled vegetables), can be purchased in the mini shops inside the train or in Morioka Station.
In the first car of SL Ginga, there are not only exhibits related to the moon and the stars but there is also the first ever optical planetarium in a train, where you can enjoy the original SL Ginga planetarium projected on the ceiling.