Ichibata Electric Railway is a local 42.0 km railway that connects the cities of Izumo and Matsue in Shimane Prefecture. Since its establishment in 1912, the railway has provided a safe, comfortable service as an important means of public transportion for local residents as well as visitors traveling to tourist attractions along the route.
In 2010, a movie set on the Ichibata Electric Railway was released, bringing new fame to the railway in Japan. Today, it is known affectionately as Bataden by its patrons.
Ichibata Electric Railway has also attracted public attention with a variety of services that are rare in Japan, such as its bicycle conveyance service, railcar pub (Suiden), and hands-on train-driver experience. It is also well-known for its unique exterior wraps.
A ride on the Ichibata Electric Railway offers the enjoyment of Japan’s untouched natural beauty from a train window--from the verdant mountain ranges in the north to the rich pastoral landscape and Lake Shinji (where migratory birds gather) in the south.
Built around eighty years ago, the western-style building of Izumotaisha-mae Station has stained-glass windows that light up the building’s interiors with an abundance of rich colors. From the front of the station, the lively atmosphere of the shrine town, Shinmon-dori Street, continues to Izumo Grand Shrine.
It is said that, in the tenth month of the old Japanese lunar calendar, Japan’s myriad gods gather at Izumo Grand Shrine to hold meetings to make various “en-musubi” (“en” is the Japanese word for “encounter or destiny”)--i.e., connections between people and other people, things, or events. The 24-meter-high main hall, where the god of en-musubi is enshrined, is a national treasure of Japan. It is believed to have once been 48 meters high in medieval times and, in recent years, a set of three giant wooden pillars that appear to substantiate this theory was unearthed from inside the shrine precincts.
Exhibits at the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo include the giant “Uzu” pillars unearthed from inside the precincts of Izumo Grand Shrine as well as other heritage items and artifacts related to Izumo Grand Shrine and ancient Izumo. A large number of bronze implements and decorative swords excavated at two sites in Shimane Prefecture and designated as national treasures can also be seen.
This beach is where the myriad gods from around Japan come to shore in the tenth month of the old lunar calendar as well as the setting of the kunitsukuri (“formation/creation of the land”) and kuniyuzuri (“relinquishing of the land”) myths. In summer, it is a popular swimming beach.
Standing on the westernmost point of the Shimane peninsula, the beautiful white Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse is the tallest stone lighthouse in Japan. An islet just off the shore of Hinomisaki is a nesting place for black-tailed gulls and has been designated as a national natural treasure.
The headquarters station of Ichibata Electric Railway. A popular attraction in the station building is the Dehani 50-Type Hands-on Train-Driver Experience, in which anybody can try their hand at driving the No. 52 Dehani 50-Type, one of Japan’s oldest half-steel carriages, even without a train-driver’s license.
This street still retains the streetscape of the district’s glory days of old, when it once flourished as a producer of fine cotton and as a market town, from medieval times to the early modern era. The street is home to a number of venerable shops with histories going back more than a hundred years, such as sake breweries, soy sauce breweries, and ginger sweet shops.
An aquarium where living creatures such as fish, shellfish, birds, animals, and plants collected from the Lake Shinji-Nakaumi system from the Hiikawa River to the Sea of Japan offers the chance to learn about the richness of the area’s biological cycle.
This station has an unusual flatland switch-back system. From here, the train starts traveling back in the opposite direction. A 10-minute drive north of the station is Ichibata Yakushi Temple, a site of worship believed to be beneficial in recovering eyesight and healing diseases of the eye. The temple approach has 1,138 stone steps, which form part of the course of a popular marathon held in autumn.
Located in the Matsue Shinjiko Onsen hot springs district. There is a hot-spring footbath even inside the station.
Matsue Castle is one of the twelve remaining castles in Japan. Feel like a daimyo lord watching over the land from the castle keep, which is a national treasure. If you are lucky, a samurai or a ninja might be around to welcome you.
On a clear day, the majestic beauty of Mt. Daisen, the tallest mountain in the Chugoku region and a popular location for outdoor sports, can be seen from the platform.
Located in the richly green hilly area, Matsue Vogel Park has two bird greenhouses, where visitors can see many different species of birds and bird shows, as well as a flower greenhouse, where beautiful flowers such as begonias and fuchsias are in full bloom all year round.
The area around the museum offers a famous vantage point to watch the beauty of the evening sun on Lake Shinji. The sun setting over Izumo Grand Shrine, with Yomegashima island in the background, is a captivating sight.
To see the timetable, please check the PDF files below:
Tickets can be purchased from ticket machines or station staff at the main stations along the route (Dentetsu Izumoshi, Izumotaisha-mae, Kawato, Unshu-Hirata, and Matsue Shinjiko-Onsen). After you get off the train, hand your train ticket to a station staff member at the exit gate.
At unmanned stations, go directly to the platform to wait for the train. When you board the train, take one of the numbered tickets provided to the left of the train door and hold on to it. When you get off the train, place your fare, along with the numbered ticket, into the fare box behind the driver’s seat, then get off the train and go through the exit gate.
|Main Stations||Type||DENTETSU IZUMOSHI||IZUMOTAISHA-MAE||UNSHU-HIRATA||MATSUE SHINJIKO-ONSEN|
Sightseeing tickets are available for purchase at the main stations.
Unlimited hop-on/hop-off travel on the Ichibata Electric Railway for one day
|Child (ages 12 and under)||800|
Entrance to Matsue Vogel Park (usually 1,500 yen) and 1-Day Free Ticket for unlimited hop-on/hop-off travel on the Ichibata Electric Railway for one day.
|Junior High School Student||1,700|
|Child (ages 12 and under)||1,100|
Entrance to permanent exhibits of Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo (usually 610 yen) and 1-Day Free Ticket for unlimited hop-on/hop-off travel on the Ichibata Electric Railway for one day.