Situated in the Nara Prefecture of the Kansai region in Japan, there are many rural railway lines that interconnect to provide local residents with a vital connection to the bustling city of Osaka. Converging at Takada for the run up to the main city, the Wakayama Line and the Sakurai Line are particularly busy routes featuring a scenic yet bustling journey throughout. Japanese suburban rail does not get more picturesque than or as challenging as this.
Japan is known worldwide for its picturesque scenery, fascinating history and of course, an impeccable railway network. The towns to the South of Osaka are no exception with the railways traversing towering valleys, local farms and a number of towns full of both modern and historical architecture. Combined with Japan’s famous Cherry Blossom trees, the line-side truly makes for a highly unique palette between the rails and the lush green hills in the distance.
The Nara Prefecture has the most UNESCO World Heritage listed buildings in the whole of Japan, meaning the lines surrounding Takada are sandwiched on either side by a number of beautiful buildings, shrines and Buddhist Temples. The Sakurai Line in particular is famous for this, having gained the nickname Manyō-Mahoroba which refers to the sheer number of ancient structures along the line itself.
Many of the railways south of Osaka are single track throughout and like the rest of Japan (excluding Shinkansen) they were built to the 1067mm (3ft 6in) ‘Cape’ gauge; or as it known locally ‘kyōki‘ literally meaning ‘Narrow Gauge’. Services pass each other at the stations thanks to Japan’s impeccable timetabling, making trains right on time, every time. There is no margin for error on Japanese railways, arriving on schedule is the pride of the network.
Following electrification of the Wakayama and Sakurai Lines, they have been dominated by the classic 103 and 105 Series electric multiple units. While the 103 and 105 are capable of operating at speeds up to 100 km/h, the top speed across the Wakayama and Sakurai Lines is no higher than 85 km/h. When combined with the frequent stopping of Sakurai to Gojo via Takada services and the peaceful nature around the surrounding valleys, the journey across this railway is a very picturesque one.
The Wakayama & Sakurai Lines route delivers the unforgettable experience of taking the controls of Japan’s iconic EMUs, JNRs classic 103 and 105 Series (AI Only). Drive the picturesque Wakayama and Sakurai Line routes in this latest route add-on for Train Simulator.