Asatō Line

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Asatō Line
Dual-mode vehicles operated on the Asato Line since 2021, based on Toyota Coaster
Native name阿佐東線
OwnerAsa Coast Railway Company
LocaleTokushima Prefecture and Kochi Prefecture
TypeRegional rail
Operator(s)Asa Coast Railway Company
Opened26 March 1992
Line length10.0 km (6.2 mi)
Number of tracksEntire line single tracked
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Operating speed85 km/h (53 mph)
Route map

Awa-Kainan Culture Village [ja]
DMV bus mode section (since 2021)
Mugi Line towards Tokushima
Awa Kainan Station / Station Stop
Awa-Kainan Signal Station (since 2021)
Shihohara Tunnel
Kaifu River [ja]
Chōnai Tunnel
Kaifu Station
15 tunnels
Roadside Station Shishikui Onsen [ja]
Shishikui Station
Shishikui River [ja]
Storage yard
4th Shishikui Tunnel
Tokushima Prefecture
Kochi Prefecture
Kannoura Station (pre-2020)
Kannoura Signal Station (since 2021)
Kannoura Station Stop
DMV bus mode section (since 2021)
Sea Station Toyocho
To Seaside Station Toromu
Railroad track
Roadway section

The Asatō Line (阿佐東線, Asatō-sen, lit.'Asa East Line') is a Japanese railway line connecting Kaifu Station, Kaiyō and Kannoura Station, Tōyō. Together with JR Shikoku's Mugi Line, it has the official nickname Awa Muroto Seaside Line (阿波室戸シーサイドライン, Awa Muroto Shīsaido Rain). This is the only railway line operated by Asa Coast Railway Company (阿佐海岸鉄道株式会社, Asa Kaigan Tetsudō kabushiki-gaisha). The company's name is abbreviated to the portmandeau Asatetsu (阿佐鉄). Since the line goes through a relatively sparsely populated area, it is under severe business stress, to the point where closure of the line has been proposed.

The railway company commenced operating road–rail vehicles, known as DMV (dual-mode vehicle) in Japan, on the Asato Line from 25 December 2021. The vehicles, three heavily modified Toyota Coasters, are claimed to be the first in the world, will allow through service to areas without rail track laid. In preparation, the rail line was disconnected from the Mugi Line since summer 2019.


Japanese National Railways started the construction of the eastern section of the Asa Line in 1959, proposed to reach Muroto, where it would connect with the planned extension of the western section of the Asa line from Kochi.

The first 12-kilometre (7.5 mi) section to Kaifu opened in 1973, and further construction was undertaken until work was suspended in 1980. In 1988 construction work south of Kaifu was re-started by the Asa Coast Railway Company, the then-newly founded third-sector company. The Kaifu - Kannoura section, now called the Asatō Line, opened in 1992.

The western portion of the planned Asa Line opened as the Tosa Kuroshio Railway Asa Line to Nahari in 2002. The Kannoura - Nahari section of the proposed Asa line has not been constructed. The proposed stations were None, Muroto, Kiragawa and Tosa-Hane.

Awa-Kainan Station has been transferred to Asa Coast Railway Company since 1 November 2020 for the purpose of constructing the required changeover facilities for the DMV. The railway line was suspended from 1 December 2020 with bustitution services running until the completion of the DMV facilities on 25 December 2021.


Mode change of a "dual-mode vehicle" at Awa Kainan Station.

The development of DMV started in 2011 as an alternative to traditional, more expensive, DMU trains for rail lines with limited passengers. In February 2016, Tokushima Prefecture announced its intentions of introducing DMV in commercial operations in the next 10 years.


On 10 January 2019, in preparation for the construction of DMV changeover facilities, the parking area and bus terminal near Kannoura Station was relocated 50 m south.[1] On 1 December 2020, bustitution services operated by JR Shikoku Bus commenced between Mugi Station and Kannoura Station[2][3] while the facilities were being constructed. On 1 February 2021, bustitution services was revised to operate from Mugi Station to Awa-Kainan Station. On 4 November 2021, the Railway Bureau of the MLIT announced the completion of safety inspections and tests of the DMV conducted on the Asato Line. As such, on 10 November 2021, Asa Coast Railway Company announced the date for the planned introduction of DMV services - on 25 December 2021, DMV services commenced operating between Awa-Kainan Station and Kannoura Station.[4][5]


Weekday services run from Awa-Kainan Station to Kannoura Station before turning around and traveling down to Shishikui Onsen Roadside Station. The journey is 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) long and takes around 35 minutes to complete. On weekends, services instead run toward Cape Muroto along the Asato Line and bus routes. The journey is 50 kilometres (31 mi) long and takes around 2 hours to complete.

Basic data[edit]

  • Distance: 10.0 km / 6.2 mi.
  • Gauge: 1,067 mm / 3 ft. 6 in.
  • Stations: 4
  • Double-track line: None
  • Electric supply: Not electrified
  • Railway signalling: Simplified automatic


No. Name Distance (km) Connections Location


Awa-Kainan 阿波海南 0.0 Shikoku Railway Company: Mugi Line (M27) Mugi, Kaifu District,
Tokushima Prefecture
AS28 Kaifu 海部 1.5 Kaiyō, Kaifu District,
Tokushima Prefecture
AS29 Shishikui 宍喰 7.6  
AS30 Kannoura 甲浦 10.0   Tōyō, Aki District,
Kōchi Prefecture

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Relocation of parking area and bus terminal
  2. ^ "阿佐東線、DMV対応工事で12月から全線運休 バス代行輸送". レイルラボ(RailLab) (in Japanese). Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  3. ^ "時刻表" (in Japanese). 阿佐海岸鉄道. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Japan to get world's 1st operational bus-train dual-mode vehicle". Kyodo News. 13 November 2021. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  5. ^ "令和3年12月25日(土)DMVでの本格営業運行を開始いたします" [Commencing of DMV operations on Saturday 25 December 2021]. Asa Coast Railway Company (in Japanese). 10 November 2021. Archived from the original on 10 November 2021. Retrieved 14 November 2021.

External links[edit]