NIKKO, Tochigi Prefecture--If paying to be stuck inside a train with “zombies” for 60 minutes is your idea of fun, check out a summer deal offered by Watarase Keikoku Railway Co.

“Zombie Train” will run from June to September through a mountain gorge between Midori in Gunma Prefecture and the tourist hotspot of Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture. 

The Nikko city government came up with the zombie idea in the hope of bolstering ridership for the scenic but unprofitable local line, noting that passenger numbers had been dropping due to depopulation and the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is also pinning its hopes on interest in the now-defunct Ashio Copper Mine that reached peak production during the Edo Period (1603-1867) and became the site of the nation’s first major pollution disaster around 130 years ago.

According to city officials, the railway company based in Midori carried around 400,000 passengers in the business year that ended in March 2018.

However, passenger numbers have continued to fall by around 3 percent with each successive year. The figure further dropped to below 300,000 for two consecutive business years through March 2022 due to the pandemic.

The train will run between Omama Station in Midori and Tsudo Station in Nikko.

During the 90-minute ride, “zombies” will do their best to scare the living daylights out of passengers for a full 60 minutes.

Kowagarasetai, a Tokyo-based horror event production company that has operated a haunted house in Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture, is responsible for staging the event with the help of volunteers from senior high schools in Gunma Prefecture. The city governments of Midori and Kiryu will also cooperate on the project.

Zombie Train will run for a total of nine days on weekends.

The first car of the Torokko Watarase Keikoku tram will be used exclusively for the special service. It has a capacity for 60 passengers.

The fare is 3,500 yen ($26) for adults (6,000 yen for a round trip) and 2,000 yen for children (3,000 yen for a round trip). 

Reservations must be made by e-mail to or by phone at 0277-73-2110.