Old train tracks on a slope, to offer a breathtaking scenery, with beautiful rows of cherry blossom.
The Keage Incline (蹴上インクライン) is located near Nanzen-ji Temple in Higashiyama, Kyoto. And It is a 582-meter long slope with old railroad tracks running up it. Before it was a short rail system as a part of the Lake Biwa Canal to move boats over 36-meter of elevation difference between the waterways of Lake Biwa Canal and the canal along Niomon-Dori street. Today, the tracks are open to the public as a walking path, and it is a famous spot for viewing cherry blossom in spring. Especially visitors can see a breathtaking scenery, with beautiful rows of cherry blossom trees on both sides of the railroad tracks from the end of March to early April.
It’s a great experience to stroll along the Keage Incline covered with cherry petals.
First, you will walk through an old brick tunnel from the station. Then you can see a 582-meter old train tracks on a slope. Now It’s a walking path and you are free to walk on it. There is an open space on the top of the slope. You can have some nice views of the area. You can also find the replica of a transport boat there. It’s particularly beautiful with cherry blossom, even though you can still enjoy strolling with lush green and autumn color.
In addition, there is a free museum behind the old red brick building nearby, and you should definitely visit the old red brick aqueduct by Nanzen-ji Temple. You can easily get to the aqueduct just following the waterway on the top of the slope.
History of the Keage Incline
Indeed Lake Biwa canal was important transport route between Kyoto and Lake Biwa between 1891 and 1948. And It transported a variety of things such as water, passengers to cargo like sake, rice and soy sauce. However the Keage Incline was closed since no transportation using boats but it was completely restored in 1977 to preserve its industrial heritage, and was designated as a National Historical Site in 1996. This old rail system is the longest of its kind in the world. The replica of a small transport boat on top of a trolley is placed on one of the tracks.
Access : 3-minute walk from Keage station on the subway Tozai line (About 20-minute from JR Kyoto station)