Chartered train trips for group travelers begin in west Japan’s ‘Ninja City’
IGA, Mie — A local railway firm in this west Japan city will from April 22 offer chartered train services letting passengers ride in groups while avoiding contact with strangers on its “Ninja Line.”
Two of the special programs are available on Iga Tetsudo Co.’s Ninja Line, also known as the Iga Line: a round trip on a special two-car chartered train between Uenoshi Station — also known as Ninja City Station — and Iga-Kambe Station, and a one-way trip between the two stations on the rear carriage of a regular train service.
A round-trip fare for a group of up to 50 people costs 43,000 yen (about $398) including tax, with an additional 740 yen (about $6.86) per extra member — which costs the same as an adult fare for a round trip between the two stations. Customers will be allowed to bring their own food and drink aboard, and an original handmade nameplate from passengers can be put up next to the driver’s platform.
All the special services start from Uenoshi Station, with departures available at 11:17 a.m., 12:17 p.m., 1:17 p.m., 2:17 p.m. or 3:17 p.m., with the train returning to the station in about 70 minutes. The special trains stop at every station on the route, but the doors essentially remain closed throughout. But, if requested, passengers can get on or off at other stations. Subject to availability, they will also be able to choose from various train types, including “ninja trains.”
The one-way trip plan costs 17,100 yen (about $158) including tax. Unlike the round-trip, the one-way excursion is available only to groups of 20 or more. If a party has more than 30 members, an extra 370 yen (about $3.43) per person is charged for an adult one-way fare. Non-chartered carriages at the front of the same train will be open to regular passengers. On the one-way trip, passengers won’t be allowed to eat or drink, except for drinks such as bottled beverages.
One-way travelers can start either from Uenoshi Station or Iga-Kambe Station, although the route is unavailable on certain days and times due to possible congestion during commuting times and local festivals along the line.
Each carriage has a seated capacity of around 40 people. “We’ve been receiving inquiries from travel companies. We hope people can enjoy the train trips with their trusted companions,” an Iga Tetsudo representative said.
Reservations can be made by email application with the railway operator at [email protected] — the necessary details need to be provided at least three weeks before the desired date of travel. For more inquiries, contact Iga Tetsudo Co. at 0595-21-0863 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. (Both in Japanese)
(Japanese original by Yasuhiro Onishi, Iga Resident Bureau)