The Mizuma Railway initially started in 1925 along the 5.5 kilometer pilgrimage route between Kaizuka City and Mizumadera Temple. It allowed easy access to the temple for a higher number of pilgrims. It is also famous for the use of Japan’s first entirely stainless steel train carriages inherited from the Tokyu Corporation in Tokyo. If you look closely, some of the handlebars still display the paraphernalia of the former train company the carriages previously served. The service is operated as a “one-man” train, which only has a driver on board. In fact, the majority of the stations do not have operational ticket barriers. Unlike automated ticket gates in cities like Tokyo, it requires passengers to obtain a paper ticket with a number upon entry of the train using a machine by the door. The fares are displayed on a board, and upon exiting by the front doors where the driver is located, passengers pay the amount listed.
Train enthusiasts from all over Japan make the journey to the end of the line at Mizumakannon Station to catch a glimpse of the rare stainless steel 7000 series parked in the nearby garage. Lucky individuals may also be granted permission to get up close and personal to take photographs, though entry into the carriages is not permitted. All of the carriages currently in service are part of the stainless steel 1000 series. Key characteristics of the 7000 series include the lack of a skirt (the item fitted onto the lower part of a train), and a lack of cooler on the top of the train, both different from the 1000 series.