Not a Shinkai or Miyazaki anime, nor a CG-created wonderland, this is one of Japan’s best train journeys.

Japan Railway’s Gono Line runs from Noshiro, a modest-sized town in Akita Prefecture, to Inakadate, an even smaller village in Aomori Prefecture. You could say there’s not much to see along the way, seeing as how most of the route runs thorough rural communities (Inakadate even means “countryside buildings”).

But while man-made spectacles may be in short supply along the rail route, if the weather cooperates you’ll be treated to some amazing natural scenery, as proven by these photos from Japanese Twitter user @tajiri0917.

Near Hiroto Station, roughly the mid-point of the line, @tajiri0917 pointed his camera’s lens out the window and captured these amazing images of sunset on the Sea of Japan, which the Gono Line runs along. “It was so emoemo,” he tweets, using the Japanese slang term for “emotionally moving.” Several online commenters agreed, comparing the vivid color of the sky and sea to something out of a Makoto Shinkai anime (or beverage), Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, or even classic Nintendo sci-fi racing game F-Zero.

The Gono Line isn’t just beautiful at twilight, though. @tajiri0917’s journey coincided with a long-awaited respite from the overcast conditions of this year’s extended rainy season in Japan, and he also shared photographs of blue skies and yellow-green fields of rice, getting in a few more months of growth before harvest season.

If you’re one of the many people looking at these photos and already checking your calendar to see when you can take time off and replicate @tajiri0917’s trip, he does caution that due to the low-population part of Japan the Gono Line travels through, trains tend to be infrequent, so it’s a good idea to check the timetable when planning your itinerary. The entire ride from one end of the line to the other takes about two hours by local train, and catching the express shaves about 30 minutes off of that. There’s also the amenity-rich Resort Shirakami sightseeing train, which looks pretty enticing, what with the onboard sake bar, pseudo-tatami seating, and shamisen musical performances shown in its promotional video.

Oh, and if you happen to have already experienced the Gono Line for yourself, don’t worry, Japan has plenty of other beautiful, off-the-beaten-track train rides.

Source: Twitter/@tajiri0917 via IT Media
Images: Twitter/@tajiri0917
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he fiercely recommends Akita’s local hinaidori chicken.