Monday, July 1, 2024

Kishu Railway. The Shortest Railway Line in Japan.


As I walked into the outskirts of Gobo City in Wakayama I came across some abandoned railway tracks. A few minutes later I arrived at Nishi Gobo Station of the Kishu Railway, the shortest railway line in Japan.

Actually, there is technically a slightly shorter line, somewhere up near Tokyo, but as it runs on tracks, trains, and drivers leased from another company, that doesn't seem to count to me.

The Kishu Railway runs 2.7 kilometers from Nishi Gobo Station to Gobo Station, with three stops in-between. The abandoned tracks I saw were from the 700 meter section from Nishi Gobo to Hidakagawa which closed in 1989.

The line opened in 1931 as the Gobo Rinko Railway and was never really successful. In 1973 it changed names after being bought by a real estate company who wanted the cachet of being able to call itself a railway company.

The railway owns three diesel carriages but only 2 are operational. There are no passing loops, so a single train shuttles back and forth about twenty times a day.

With at most about 200 passengers a day, and even with unmanned stations and "one-man cars", it cannot be making a profit, but it seems that recently a Chinese company became the majority shareholder. I visited on day 6 of my walk along the Kumano Kodo and Saigoku pilgrimage. The previous post was on Shioya Oji Shrine.


  1. That technically shorter railway: