Besides riding the trains, you can also do a little train spotting while in Japan. Japan has interesting freight system with all kinds of locomotives and equipment that can observed and photographed at trackside. Be sure to stay off of railroad property and observe all safety precautions when you are around railroads. Look - Listen - Live.
The type of locomotive and freight cars that you might see depends on the region and density of traffic. In the urban areas you might see an electric locomotive hauling a container train, while out in the country side the train might be powered by diesel hauling traditional type freight cars. There is also the railroad museum in Kyoto which has a large collection of railway equipment.
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