unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy Takachiho Amaterasu Railway
The Amaterasu Railway in Miyazaki Prefecture is a popular local train that takes passengers on a gorgeous 30-minute journey through the spectacular scenery of Takachiho. The quirky train is known for its open roof, its journey over Japan’s highest train bridge, and train conductors who blow bubbles along the way. But now they’re known for something else: leaving passengers feeling hungry.
a railway representative showing samples of the ramen broth biodiesel
The Amaterasu Railway previously ran on diesel fuel and because of the open roof, passengers would get whiffs of exhaust fumes. However, the railway recently announced that they had switched to running entirely on biodiesel made from leftover tonkotsu ramen broth. Now, instead of that toxic burnt smell, riders report smelling aromas of fried rice along the way.
The initiative comes from a partnership with Nishida Logistics, a trucking company based in neighboring Fukuoka, home to–you guessed it–tonkotsu ramen. The trucking company figured out a way to convert the thick, fatty, pork-based broth into biodiesel. Several of their trucks run on the biodiesel and now so does the Amaterasu Railway.