Japanese National Railway's Shihoro Line

The Shihoro Line was a specified local line of the Japanese National Railways system, connecting Obihuro at the Nemuro Main Line with Mitsumata in the Hokkaido region.

It opened in sections between 1925 and 1939, it ran approximately 50 miles through mountainous and river terrain. (Right of way)

(Wikipedia Commons) Abandoned Taushubetsu Bridge of the old Shihoro line, this section was dammed, with the tracks moved slightly to the west. Now both alignments have been abandoned.

With the construction of the Nukabira Dam in 1955, the original alignment was relocated, leaving the Taushubetsu Bridge (pictured above and below) abandoned at that time.

Train crossing the Taushubetsu Bridge. Image: Kamishihoro Town Rail Museum

The area north of Nukabira was isolated with no means of transportation other than railroads for some time after World War II, but this changed when Japanese National Route 273 was built, paralleling the Shihoro Line.


The area also began a steep population decline in the 1970's, leading to a further decline in the railwuy's passenger traffic. By 1984, JNR had slated the line for closure.

The rest of the line would be abandoned in 1987. Service was converted to bus, namely the Hokkaido Takushoku Bus Company, who would use the adjacent highway to replace rail service along the route.

Map of the Shihoro Line, including the original alignment. Data comes from our Abandoned & Out-of-Service Railroad Lines Map.

The Kamishihoro Town Rail Museum (link is in Japanese) exists on the old right of way in Kamishihoro. The museum opened the year after the line was abandoned.

Old Nukabira Station. Image: Kamishihoro Town Rail Museum

Note: Using Google Chrome, many websites in different languages can be translated, and interestingly, different information accompanies different versions of Wikipedia articles. This is how we learned about some of the information we have for Japan on our map!

See our other blog, "The Forgotten Railways of Japan" where JetLaggedJaff visited Shibuya Terminal.

Thanks as always for reading!


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