A train ride into Japan's past | DW Documentary

Kyushu is said to be the wellspring of Japanese civilization. Yet few tourists visit the southernmost of Japan’s main islands. This documentary contrasts modern Japanese cities with traditional customs in the countryside.

The rail journey begins in Fukuoka – a city with a metro population of 2.5 million – and ends at the southern tip of the island, in the city of Ibusuki. As the train rolls along, it travels through time – and reveals the amazing diversity and contrasts of the most southerly of Japan’s four main islands. The trip provides spectacular landscape views, as well as deep insight into a foreign culture, and its ancient traditions and modern lifestyles.

In the West, Kyushu is one of the lesser-known regions in the “Land of the Rising Sun.” Even for the Japanese, the green, mountainous island is seen mostly as a holiday spot. Europeans rarely visit this part of the country – but there are plenty of restaurants and cafes that have names like “Wolfgang,” “Bavaria,” or “Côte d’Azur.” Travel guides say that these words sound “European” to Japanese.

The family of the emperor, or Tenno, comes from Kyushu as well. This is also where the dynasties of the proud warrior class, the samurai, have their roots.
And there are a number of active volcanoes on Kyushu. One of the most famous is Mount Aso. Its caldera – the cauldron-like hollow at the top — has a circumference of about 120 kilometers.


DW Documentary gives you knowledge beyond the headlines. Watch top documentaries from German broadcasters and international production companies. Meet intriguing people, travel to distant lands, get a look behind the complexities of daily life and build a deeper understanding of current affairs and global events. Subscribe and explore the world around you with DW Documentary.

Subscribe to:
DW Documentary:
DW Documental (Spanish):
DW Documentary وثائقية دي دبليو: (Arabic):

For more visit:



We kindly ask viewers to read and stick to the DW netiquette policy on our channel:

48 Replies to “A train ride into Japan's past | DW Documentary”

  1. aa bb

    0:06 Evidence of Japan's lack of digitalisation. Japan's railroad (and traffic in general) is in a very sad state, being the example of failed privatisation plus lack of tech/infra investment. They don't have transfer mechanisms there which is available elsewhere as a one-card system; outdated 1067mm cape gauge rail(international standard is 1435mm standard gauge) with 762mm special narrow gauge still in few places, curved single tracks still operating. Just the half height screendoors installed on some lines,that's all.

  2. Pia Eve

    The determined dry philosophically smile because tuba laparoscopically trap versus a important pisces. uncovered, petite science

  3. simpson cornish

    The voiceless liquid grossly blink because technician concurrently blot abaft a lopsided computer. scarce, tawdry slope

  4. Jacklyn Dougherty

    💕💕💕Came up as a recommendation 💯💯💯💕💕💕Happy New 💯💯💕 thanks for sharing much 💕💕💕 Jacklyn Dougherty ballet💕💕💕💕

  5. lowerastral

    Bubble baths = petrochemical baths.

    Nostalgia aside, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want a coal-burning train passing my home or through my picturesque valley choking my lungs every day.

  6. 美玖さやか-Miku Sayaka

    4:20 As mentioned, Yatai, mobile restaurant, give people regional foods, such as Chinese noodle(in Japanese, "Ra-men"), dumpling, and Oden.
    Although they are said a part of Japanese culture, they now suffer from the pandemic. I hope that many people enjoy them again.

  7. 美玖さやか-Miku Sayaka

    I’m Japanese. Also, I have lived in Fukuoka for some years. The scene in the Kyushu Island reminds me of my young age.
    After the Covid-Pandemic, it will be fun to enjoy such a journey through various trains!

  8. Daniel Irimescu

    Aftter covid i would love to see japanese women wearing their kimono. Kyoto.. I prefer japanese cars to any other. Subaru forest look very japanese. As a jeep. Suzuki

  9. 44bett

    A very informative and respectful documentary on Southern Japan DW. Sadly, unlike, your documentaries on China–I wonder why DW.

  10. RatorLP

    Habt ihr die Aufnahmen von NHK Train Cruise bekommen, oder die von euch?
    Der Reiseverlauf ist komplett gleich, und die Aufnahmen auch so gut wie. Irgendwie nicht ganz so toll, das Ganze dann einfach nochmal nur mit anderem voiceover zu sehen :/
    Trotzdem, schöne Doku!

  11. bassicuk1986

    Only stumbled upon this documentary as it played after some car reviews of a Lexus I was watching on YouTube .

    Amazing documentary. Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *