Last year I posted about riding on the suspended railway in Shonan (Kanagawa Prefecture) believing it to be just one of the world’s seven dangletrains. That story was probably the one that got the most attention on Twitter (yet it never made it into the Top 20 posts for 2022!) and there was one particular comment on social media which really made me sit up and take interest.
It seems that there was an eighth and it also happened to be in Japan. Whilst the two Japanese upside-down trains are both in reasonable close vicinity to Tokyo (in Chiba City and Kanagawa Prefecture respectively), the other is over 650 kilometres away in Hiroshima Prefecture.
Knowing that I’d probably be visiting Hiroshima at the end of the year it was music to my ears, and the first time I got some time to myself in late December I headed east on the San-yo Main Line to Seno which is about 20 mins away from Hiroshima station.
It is called Skyrail and every time I hear that I feel like singing it to the tune of the Adele song ‘Skyfall‘ from the James Bond film of the same name!
Midoriguchi is connected to Seno station and was my starting point. IC cards cannot be used on this line so I purchased a ticket (¥170) which is not inserted into the ticket gates but is instead scanned via a QR code.
The Skyrail Midorizaka Line (to use its full title) is quite different from the Shonan and Chiba monorails. In fact, I’m not even sure if it can even be considered a monorail for it is more of an automated people mover (APM) used in places like airports or theme parks. It reminded me more of the driverless gondola-sized car/APM that transports people up to Asukyama Park in Oji (Tokyo).
It is a very small and short line with a length of just 1.3 kilometres (0.81 miles) running through just three stations. I decided to ride the whole length of the line which takes just five minutes, and then walk back down.
Midori-Chūō is the station at the top of the hill and it is fringed by some beautiful mountain ranges and views of the city.
Less than a month after I heard about this line it was announced that it would be closing at the end of 2023 due to profitability concerns! I was therefore very lucky to have been visiting Hiroshima at the end of 2022 as it won’t be around the next time we are back in that city! It will be replaced by electric buses.
The walk going down from Midori-Chūō to Midoriguchi takes about 25 minutes and is a simple one that follows the tracks overhead.
Midori-Nakamachi is the middle of the three stations and the place where one can see the most action in terms of the dangletrains heading in both directions.
Skyrail opened in August 1998 at a cost of about ¥6.2 billion, and operates fairly regularly between 6:30 am and 10:00 pm. I rarely had to wait more than ten minutes for one of the APMs to pass overhead.
For the record, there is a night taxi in operation for a couple of hours after the Skyrail stops for the day. Sadly, I have no idea if this is for individuals or takes people collectively.
Whether this line can be truly included as one of the world’s dangletrains is debatable but even so it is still a sight to behold and will be missed when it ceases operation at the end of 2023. Get on board whilst you can!
Click here to read ‘Riding On One Of The World’s Seven Dangletrains’
Click here to read ‘Going Back & Forth To Visit All The Stations Of Kawasaki’s Industrial Line’
Click here to read ‘The Japanese Town Which Has It’s Own Local Rail Line’
Click here to read ‘The Complete Tour Of Katakana-Named Stations In Tokyo!’
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