Saturday, July 27, 2013

Nagasaki Electric Tramway - 長崎電機軌道

Nagasaki Ekimae Station
Railway: Nagasaki Electric Tramway (Nagasaki Dentetsu) - 長崎電機軌道 (長崎電鉄)
Type: Railway 鉄道
Location: Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture, Kyushu Region, JAPAN
Distance: 11.5km
Number of Stations: 38
Price: ¥120
One day free pass: ¥500
Number of lines: 5
Number of routes: 5
Photos: Nagasaki Electric Tramway

 I was able to ride all of Nagasaki’s lines during a half day of sightseeing in the city with my wife and daughter. The inner city section from the JR station out into the small, moderately level section of this very, very mountainous city is where most of the tourist attractions are. The longest line reaching out to Akasako (赤迫) terminus and passing the Peace Park is under 7km. It contains a part where the tracks parallel the JR Kyushu line. This section plus a street car only bridge on the Hotarujaya Branch Line are the only times the streetcars do not run with traffic.

Shokakuji-shita Station
 Two of the terminal stations were really appealing for me. The first is Shokakuji-shita (正覚寺下駅) on the Main Line (routes 1 and 4). This station is half built on a bridge over a small river coming down from the mountain above. Across from station, on the other side of the river, houses are built above the river on stilts. The second is Hotarujaya (蛍茶屋) at the end of the eponymous branch line (routes 3,4, or 5). After climbing a steepish slope in the middle if a wide road the train stops at a large intersection. Passengers have to get off, but the tracks go on crossing the intersection and entering a garage. The slope of the hill behind the garage increases greatly making running streetcars up unrealistic. Both of these stations exemplify how tight the land is in Nagasaki and how the streetcars go right up to the end of that useable flat-ish space.

Hotarujaya Station
 Most of the cars are older and quite enjoyable to ride on. There are few longer, newer trains also which were more comfortable. The stations are typically in the middle of the street and are very, very skinny. Unlike Hiroden there aren’t any larger developed stations with gates. All payment is done when departing in cash, via a smartcard, or using a one day free pass. The paper passes are the scratch off type and sell for ¥500. You cannot get them on the trains, so plan ahead. We got ours at tourist information office in JR Nagasaki Station, but they are also sold at various stores around town near the larger stations. Android users can download a free app that lets you show your phone to the driver, a single day pass costs ¥520 per adult, however.

My family and I really enjoyed riding the trains. It was a great, easy way to get around the city and see some of the highlights. We had a small amount of time on a rainy day, but thanks to the streetcars we made the most of it.


Khaleesi said...

Nagasaki is one of my favorite places in Japan. This brings back some great memories!

angryparsnip said...

Lovely photos. I think it would be nice to live by the stream. What a great way to see the city on a rainy day.

cheers, parsnip