5 Foods to Try in Ibaraki: Melon, Hitachi Beef, Sweet Potatoes, and More!

Snap Unique Railroad Photos in Shikoku! 3 Scenic Spots

Surrounded by the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Shikoku is an island known for its pristine landscapes. You can snap railroad photos with stunning natural backdrops, including the sea, mountains, and rivers. We introduce three photo spots in Tokushima and Ehime.

2021.07.26

Shikoku: A Treasure Trove of Stunning Scenery!

四国の鉄道

Shikoku is an island that sits between the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean, with the Shikoku Mountains running through its center. You'll find an array of colorful scenery that's woven by the sea, mountains, and rivers. Shikoku also has many spots for taking unique train photos!

In this article, our Shikoku-based writer will introduce three of these spots found in Tokushima and Ehime.

All of the locations introduced in this article are accessible by JR Shikoku railway lines. These feature colorfully decorated railcars such as the Anpanman Train, and sightseeing cars like the Iyonada Monogatari and the Shikoku Mannaka Sennen Monogatari. They will both delight your eyes and make for a fun ride!

*When taking train photos, do not enter the railway tracks or interfere with train operations. Please be careful not to cause any disturbances to nearby residents.

1. Shimonada Station in Ehime: Beautiful Scenery Woven by the Sea and Sky!

映画の舞台になったあの駅も!四国のオススメ鉄道写真スポット3選

JR Shimonada Station in Ehime Pprefecture is one of Japan's most picturesque railway spots. The tiny station and its platform offer a panoramic the Seto Inland Sea!

The melancholic beauty of this spot has served as a location for numerous productions, including the 1977 movie Otoko wa Tsuraiyo Torajiro to Tonosama, and the TV animation series I'll Be Here (Kyokai no Kanata) from 2013.

映画の舞台になったあの駅も!四国のオススメ鉄道写真スポット3選

The train platform features a simple three-legged overhead canopy and handrail. Just beyond lie the vast sea and sky, spreading out from the platform.

The simplicity of this scenery makes a beautiful photo composition. Some creative adjustments by the photographer or changes in the cloud formation can dramatically alter the photograph.

On this day, our writer spent about two hours totally immersed in taking pictures while watching the changing cloud patterns.

映画の舞台になったあの駅も!四国のオススメ鉄道写真スポット3選

A melancholy blue bench.

下灘駅

A retro-looking station sign.

下灘駅

On this particular day, the clouds started moving in and it was difficult to clearly see the ocean. But this allowed our writer to snap this unique picture, where the train looks like it's traveling through an expansive sky!

下灘駅

Each hour, one or two trains stop at JR Shimonada Station. However, depending on the time of day, there are also long periods when no trains stop by. If you want to include a train in your photo, be sure to check the timetable beforehand.

JR Shimonada Station is brightly lit by the sun in the morning, giving the glistening sea a beautiful appearance.

On the other hand, the evening sun sinking into the Seto Inland Sea makes for a phenomenal view at dusk. For those wanting to take a sunset picture, please visit in the late afternoon.

下灘駅

JR Shimonada Station is about 50 minutes from JR Matsuyama Station, which is a major travel destination in Ehime. The number of trains stopping at Shimonada Station are limited, so remember to check the train timetable beforehand.

Near Shimonada Station, you'll find Shimonada Coffee (Japanese Facebook). It's open on weekends and national holidays. Please note that other eating and drinking establishments are roughly two or three kilometers from the station.

2. Ozu Castle Area in Ehime: Passing Trains With a Castle Backdrop!

伊予大洲駅

Ozu Castle is located in Ozu City, Ehime. Visitors can stay overnight in a castle tower courtesy of Ozu Castle Stay, the first such experience offered in Japan. The one-night fee of one million yen (about 9,000 USD) has also been a topic of conversation!

Additionally, there's a unique spot where you can take a train photo with Ozu Castle in the background.

伊予大洲駅

To reach this spot, we'll first need to get to JR Iyo-Ozu Station.

The ride from JR Matsuyama Station to JR Iyo-Ozu Station takes about 35 minutes by limited express train. By local train, it takes anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours. Alternatively, it takes about 40 to 50 minutes from JR Shimonada Station.

伊予大洲駅

To reach the photo spot from JR Iyo-Ozu Station, we'll need to travel along a footpath on the opposite bank of the river (see map above). It's about a two-kilometer walk from the station. If you have lots of luggage, it's best to leave it in a station coin locker or store it at the tourist information center.

From JR Iyo-Ozu Station, we'll head north and then cross over a bridge. After crossing the bridge, we'll turn left and continue walking. Shortly after, Ozu Castle will come into view, standing prominently in the distance.

伊予大洲駅

Along this road, there are several spots where the view opens up on a great spot to snap a photo with the castle and a passing train. Depending on the spot, the photo's scenery will change ever so slightly. Take some time to find your ideal location.

There's lots of traffic along this road, so try and take a photo from the footpath instead. You'll also find a footpath running alongside the river.

伊予大洲駅

For these shots, our writer used a 24-70 mm standard zoom lens. However, the castle still appeared far away. He recommends using a telephoto lens with a longer focal length.

伊予大洲駅

If you're looking for an even closer spot, the riverbank on the same side of the station is another ideal place. Because you're on a bank, you can take pictures of a train crossing an elevated bridge with mountains in the backdrop.

At Iyo-Ozu Station, two to six trains usually stop by every hour. The number of trains can differ considerably depending on the time of day, so be sure to check the train schedule ahead of time.

Uchiko Town: A Popular Sightseeing Area

内子町

Photo by Pixta

Ozu City, often called Iyo's Little Kyoto, flourished during ancient times. Nearby, many well preserved buildings make for great photo opportunities.

Particularly attractive is the town of Uchiko. Here, the streets are lined with machiya (historic townhouses) evocative of the Edo Period (1603-1868) and Meiji Period (1868-1912).

Along these traditional avenues, you'll also find many stylish cafes and souvenir shops. The nearest station is JR Uchiko Station. It's only 20 minutes from JR Iyo-Ozu Station, so by all means, include this stop on your itinerary!

3. Oboke and Koboke Gorges in Tokushima: See Trains Passing Through a Lush Valley!

大歩危小歩危

In Tokushima, you'll find Oboke and Koboke gorges, which connect to the Iya Valley. The Iya Valley is a beautiful spot considered one of Japan's Top Three Unexplored Regions.

This scenic valley was carved out by the fast-moving waters of the Yoshino River over the course of 200 million years.

You can take pictures of trains running across a bridge over the valley. It's no wonder camera buffs flock here to capture this unique view.

大歩危小歩危

The nearest station to this picture-taking spot is JR Koboke Station.

JR Koboke Station is between 2.5 to 4 hours (including station waiting time) from JR Takamatsu Station in Kagawa Prefecture.

大歩危小歩危

If you walk about two kilometers south from JR Koboke Station, you'll arrive at a tunnel called Oboke Domon. Several spots offer great views of the bridge.

大歩危小歩危

Depending on the spot, your overall photo composition will differ. Take some time and find your favorite!

While our writer was taking photos, he was approached by a resident who asked if he had taken any good pictures. This spot is popular with the locals, too.

Please check the timetable to find the schedules of trains passing through Koboke Station. Trains usually pass by once every 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, the timetable is not available online. However, our writer did discover a schedule inside Koboke Station. When you're visiting this station, be sure to check it out.

Many Shops and Businesses Nearby

大歩危小歩危

About a five minute walk from the Oboke Domon tunnel you'll find several restaurants and souvenir shops. There's also a convenience store and RiverStation West-West, a commercial facility with an outdoor shop.

While taking a short break here, why not look for another photo opportunity? The parking lot offers a spectacular view of the river, especially in autumn.

The parking lot tends to be busy during the autumn foliage season, so let's try to be considerate of other people at the facility.

大歩危小歩危

Known for its stunning beauty, the Oboke and Koboke gorges area has plenty of places to take a memorable picture.

Starting from RiverStation West-West, there are also several facilities where you can enjoy rafting and other outdoor activities.

Sightseeing Trains: Iyonada Monogatari and Shikoku Mannaka Sennen Monogatari

伊予灘ものがたり

Picture courtesy of Shikoku Railway Company

For travelers looking to enjoy Shikoku's beautiful scenery from the comfort of a train, we recommend a sightseeing car.

The Iyonada Monogatari travels between Shimonada and Ozu Station, two of the stations introduced in this article. This sightseeing train stops for about ten minutes at Shimonada Station, giving passengers ample time to take a few pictures.

The Shikoku Mannaka Sennen Monogatari travels through the Oboke-Koboke area. The trip also includes a delicious meal.

Both of these trains are quite popular, so we suggest making a reservation if you're interested.

Reservations for the Shikoku Mannaka Sennen Monogatari and  Iyonada Monogatari can be made online in English. . Those who wish to book the tickets in Japanese should inquire at a JR station ticket window.

Finishing Our Adventure

伊予大洲

A view of the Hijikawa River which runs through Ozu City.

In Shikoku you can enjoy stunning outdoor views on a railway-themed photo excursion, meet interesting people, and sample delicious local cuisine.

While waiting for the trains, you'll feel a cool breeze from the river and take in the natural surroundings. Relaxing moments like these can't be experienced on a rushed trip.

Whether you're a railway fan or just looking to enjoy the natural beauty of Japan, there are plenty of fun things to see and do.

Plan your trip in Shikoku using the JR Shikoku Railway lines and enjoy everything this island has to offer!


In cooperation with Shikoku Railway Company

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.