Seven decades after the first ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ book, the fictional steam locomotive has finally come to life. You can ride this beloved British children’s book and cartoon character through the lush countryside of Shizuoka prefecture every year from around May to October.
There are two 70-minute round trips a day between Shin-Kanaya and Ieyama stations, and passengers will be treated to the accompanying Day Out with Thomas festival, where you’ll meet Thomas’s other locomotive friends Winston and James (these are non-functioning lifesized replicas), and shop for Thomas-themed snacks and souvenirs.
To score a seat on this fun ride, enter the ticket lottery in advance through Lawson Ticket, which is only accessible within Japan. A round-trip ticket costs ¥3,050 for adults, while it’s ¥1,530 for kids.