Dec 27, 2018
A slice of Japan’s Kawaii Pop culture in rural Japan with much loved local character Nagisa Endo
A fusion of regional attractions and pop culture!
Board the Nagisa Train to embark on a quirky train journey.
Japan’s rich subculture is renowned around the world and consists of anime, anime characters and other forms of entertainment. Nowadays, this subculture is manifesting itself and being enjoyed in various ways not only in Tokyo, but also all over Japan. Did you know that the area along the Kamikochi Line also has its own mascot character? Known as Nagisa Endo, she is gaining much popularity and calls this area home, where you can see trains running against a majestic natural backdrop.
Ever since she first appeared in 2012, Nagisa has garnered much love as a tourism mascot for Kamikochi from not only local residents, but also many tourists. Boasting a diverse lineup of merchandise and souvenirs, there is now also a Nagisa Train. The train itself is retro, but has been decorated with illustrations of Nagisa and is so popular that there are even people who travel a long way just to board this train on the Kamikochi Line. There are many different ways of enjoying the area along the Kamikochi Line. You can enjoy Nagisa themed attractions and specialties, or you can take in the views of the abundant natural landscape and the Northern Alps. What’s for sure is that this area along the Kamikochi Line with its mascot and local attractions, has an exquisite fusion of the old and the new, and is gaining popularity as a hidden gem.
Job: Station attendant at Niimura Station (Kamikochi Line)
Favorite foods: Apples, watermelons, waffles
Hobbies: Shopping, baking, traveling
Nagisa Endo was designed in the hope of creating a character that would become a familiar figure for local residents and would get more people, especially those who don’t know much about railways, to become interested in exploring the Kamikochi Line.
Her name was taken from Nagisa Station and Endo Station on the Kamikochi Line, and casting the up-and-coming voice actor Emi Nitta, who hails from Nagano, as Nagisa, is also one of the reasons behind the character’s popularity.
Hop on and off the Nagisa Endo train freely with the One-day Kamikochi Line ticket
The Kamikochi Line is a 14.4km railway line in Nagano prefecture connecting Matsumoto Station in Matsumoto City to Shinshimashima Station. As well as acting as one of the main routes that enable access to Kamikochi, Norikura, and other scenic locations, the Line is very much a form of everyday transportation for the local residents. Recently, the number of tourists who visit the area for a uniquely local experience have been on the rise. Many are satisfying their thirst for a slightly different experience by taking in the rural landscapes along the Kamikochi Line and the retro train carriages. By hopping on the Kamikochi Line and embarking on a fascinating journey with the local Kawaii Pop culture icon Nagisa Endo, you too can experience the unique charm of the local area which is home to much nature and retro attractions.
With a one-day ticket and a free pamphlet, you’re free to make stopovers and explore the area along the Kamikochi Line!
Price: Adult 1,420 yen, Child 710 yen
Available at: You can purchase from the ticket vending machine at Matsumoto and Shin-shimashima station.
PICK UP STATION 1
Nagisa Endo’s name comes from Nagisa Station, and one thing you should definitely check out is the “Asawa waffles” from EfuEfu Shop Asawa, which is located right in front of the station. They’re famous for being one of Nagisa Endo’s favorite foods, so much so that there are many fans who visit Nagisa Station just for these waffles. With a soft and chewy texture, the waffles come in twenty different flavors and are a popular local delicacy among both visitors and locals.
Soft, chewy waffles generously filled with cream (220 yen each).
It’s hard to take a pick with so many flavors to choose from.
But be warned, the popular flavors might be sold out by the time you get there.
PICK UP STATION 2
ED301 Electric locomotive
Niimura Station is famous for being Nagisa Endo’s workplace. One of the highlights that we recommend you check out is the retro trains that you can see from the station. Many of them are rare and can only be seen here, and are also highly popular among railway enthusiasts, some of whom apparently volunteer to do restoration work on the retired trains that are stored here. Sitting back and relaxing while thinking about the history of the trains is one of the best ways to enjoy your time on the Kamikochi Line.
MCR (Rotary snowplow)
Deployed as a replacement for the retired ED301 electric locomotive, the MCR is currently being used to pull trains into train sheds and clearing away snow during winter.
The Nagisa Train
The trains that currently serve on the Kamikochi Line are also maintained at this station. If timing is on your side, you might be able to come across the rare sight of staff undertaking maintenance work on the Nagisa Train.
True to its name of Nagisa Endo’s workplace, Niimura Station sells Nagisa merchandise and capsule toys. There is also a valuable bird’s eye view map of the Kamikochi Line and Kamikochi in the olden days, which is another must-see attraction.
Kawaii Nagisa Endo merchandise - Perfect for souvenirs!
Considering her popularity, it doesn’t come as a surprise that there is an extensive collection of Nagisa merchandise, including the top-selling key rings and TRAIN cans. They are not only irresistible to fans, but also make perfect keepsakes of your trip and gifts for young children. The merchandise can be purchased from Hata Station, Niimura Station, and Shinshimashima Station on the Kamikochi Line, as well as from the station waiting room at Matsumoto Bus Terminal. The Nagisa Endo merchandise is exclusive to the Kamikochi Line, so why not buy them as keepsakes of your trip?
Each station has so much to offer, so why not take your time to explore the entire Kamikochi Line?
The Nagisa train – the train blessed with a majestic natural backdrop!
A 14.4 km train route connecting Matsumoto and Shin-shimashima. The service runs approximately once every 40 minutes to an hour and the journey takes around 30 minutes.
Fare: 710 yen (Between Matsumoto and Shin-shimashima)
※ IC cards such as Suica and PASMO cannot be used.
※ Please contact Alpico Group for more information about the Nagisa Train timetable.
※ Please note that services may not be running due to inspections and other maintenance procedures. Thank you for your understanding.
> Download the English pamphlet here
> Getting to Matsumoto