Ikoma Cable Car

Ikoma Cable Line
Ikoma Cable Line

Only a few years after trains first starting running in Japan back in the late 1800’s, and when it still took about 12 hours to travel from Tokyo to Osaka, the Ikoma Cable Railway was established in 1918 in the Kansai area. It is the oldest cable car company in Japan and is run by Kintetsu. The lines official name is Ikoma Cable Line (生駒鋼索線).

Original picture source: flickr, dugspr, modified (cropped) under Creative Commons License.

It is great to see that this historical line is still in operation today and that the rail cars have been upgraded to give tourists an even more entertaining experience. The trains certainly create quite a bit of attention and are a perfect tourist attraction for the area to complement the local theme park.

Hōzanji Line 1 used classical 1928 cars until 2000, when they were replaced to the current fancy-decorated cars. Since then, dog-faced “Bull” and cat-faced “Mike” serve the line, both officially being Type Ko 11. Sanjō Line uses organ-like “Do-Re-Mi”, cake-decorated “Sweet”, both officially Type Ko 15. Hōzanji Line 2 uses ordinary-shaped Type Ko 3 cars, nicknamed “Yume-Ikoma”. Source: wikipedia, kintetsu ikoma cable line

Dog Train
Dog Train
Original picture source: flickr, dugspr, modified (cropped) under Creative Commons License.

The video here is quite shaky, but it is really funny to hear the meow, meow and woof woof sounds when the dog train passes the cat train.

If you are planning a trip, you might want to look at this map to view the area.

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  • かわい です. Those cable-cars look really cute. I could never have imagined that it took about 12 hours to get form Toyko to Osaka. O_o

    • i actually made the trip once, about 15 years ago from Kyoto to Tokyo, using just local trains. I set off in the morning and arrived by dark. It wsa really cheap and a great way to see things, but it did take a long time 🙂

      • must have been quite a trip. Maybe did you take any photos on a trip? If so could you upload them. I really would like to see them

      • It wasn't my trip sorry. I saw these photos had just been uploaded onflickr and thought everyone would like to see and hear about them.

        I may travel to Kyoto later this month and will take photos.

  • What a great way to advertise your train with. I love the cat and dog sounds as they passed each other. Those train look quite comfortable seeing i've never been on one. My wife took Amtrak from Tx to Wi when our son was young. They should have the kind of advertising that you have. May be put Rilakkuma on the outside and inside that would make for great advertising.

  • it looks really cute i really would like to do a trip with that kind of train, it s really great to see that kind of train still in operation today i don t know the distance between Tokyo to Osaka but i think 12 hours it s too much

    • 12 hours is a long time. I have driven it in about 8 hours. Back 100 years ago it just wasn't as easy as hopping on the bullet train is now. The shinkansen has cut the time down to around 2 hours.