Mine-sen, Senzaki-sen   美祢線(厚狭ー長門ー仙崎)

The Mine-sen was destroyed in the storms of 12 to 15 July 2010 and remained closed until 26 September 2011. Since the strom of 30 June / 1 July 2023 the line is again closed.

Diesel car KIHA 120-20 crossing at Ofuku, north of Shigeyasu. (2015)

Diesel car KIHA 120-22 at the end stop in the fishing village of Senzaki. (2001)

The Mine-sen is the westernmost line to cross the Japanese main island through the mountains from the Japan Sea to the Inland Sea. (The last rail connection from the Japan Sea southwards is the San'in Honsen, which runs along the seacoast). The Mine-sen is 46, 0 km long, not electrified, and operates between the town of Nagato on the Japan Sea coast in the north and Asa, which is also a Shinkansen station situated somewhat inland from the port towns and industrial centres of Ube and Onoda. In the north, some of the Mine-sen trains continue for another 2, 2 km to and from the fishing village of Senzaki.

Today the Mine-sen runs through quiet farm villages, but formerly there were important industries along the line, particularly in the region of Mine and Shigeyasu. On the one hand, there were the large-scale limestone quarries at Mine, which led to heavy freight traffic down the line to Asa and on to Ube and the port of Ube. A branch line at Mine connected the main line with the cement works. However, in 1998 the major customer switched to road transport. Until 2009, lump lime was carried from Shigeyasu just north of Mine to the glass factory at Ube. Another interesting freight service used to be the transport of calcium carbonate from the Ube Industries chemical plant at Mine via Asa and the Yamaguchi-sen to Okami (north of Hamada on the San'in Honsen), and the use of the same freight cars for fly ash from the power plant there back to Mine. The destruction of a section of the Yamaguchi-sen in the heavy storms of July 2013 put an end to this traffic.

The other important source of freight traffic on the Mine-sen used to be the anthracite mines (called "smokeless coal" in Japanese) around Mine and Shigeyasu. The mines closed down in 1970/71, but the remaining passenger service over the 2, 8 km branch line to Ômine lasted until 1997. Freight traffic over the Mine-sen from Shigeyasu northwards ended in 1987.

On the Senzaki branch freight services ended in 1963. The railway station at Senzaki became an information centre for the well-known female poet and songwriter Kaneko Misuzu (1903-1930), until she received a memorial museum in 2003.

The Mine-sen opened from Asa into the Ômine coalfields in 1905, and a light railway was built to Shigayasu in 1916. The Mine-sen as we know it today from Asa to Nagato went into full service in 1924. The branch to Senzaki followed in 1930.

Until 1985, the Mine-sen saw fast through passenger trains originating along the Japan Sea, but today there are only stopping trains from Asa to Nagato, basically 10 to 11 services per day. Senzaki is reached by 6 trains a day, part of them working through from Asa. 

Torrential rain, heavy flooding and the destruction of bridges on July 15, 2010, almost spelt the end of the Mine-sen. However, eventual reconstruction made the reopening of the line possible as from September 26, 2011.


Some of the cars used on the Mine-sen commemorate the Meiji Restauration of Imperial Rule in 1868 and the important role played by this region. Figures and scenes displaed on car KIHA 120-323 refer to Mine, Nagato and Onoda. The front figure is the PR fairy "Bakumatsu Choruru" that calls for people to visit the area. (2015)

A limestone transport at Asa, headed by diesel locomotive DE10 1576. (2001)

The Mine-sen near Kamonoshô signal, just north of Asa; in this area the line was devastated in 2010. (2015)

On the Mine-sen near Atsu, south of Mine. (2015) .

A calcium carbonate/fly ash wagon (no.TAKI 1100-17) at Mine. (2001)

Shigeyasu station. The remains of a larger yard can be made out. (2015)

Settlements near Ofuku, north of Mine. (2015)

On the Mine-sen in stormy weather. (1983)

From the train near Shibuki, in the mountains south of Nagato. (2015)

From the train near Shibuki, in the mountains south of Nagato. (2015) .

The Mine-sen near Shibuki on the descent towards Nagato. (2015)

Farmers crossing the railway line near Nagato Yumoto. (2015)

On the branch to Senzaki. (2001)