Drive a Real JR Train by Donating ¥130,000 to Kawagoe, City North of Tokyo

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A participant operates a train during an East Japan Railway Co. event in Yamagata in October 2022.

KAWAGOE, Saitama — A train driving experience has been added to Saitama Prefecture city Kawagoe’s list of gifts offered in return for donations to city coffers as part of the furusato nozei system.

The system is a central government initiative that allows users to deduct a certain amount of municipal tax through donating to another municipality. Recipient municipalities offer donors a token gift in appreciation.

The Kawagoe municipal government and the Omiya Branch Office of East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) recently announced the offer and on Nov. 1 started accepting donations for the experience. The first four people ages 20 and over to donate the ¥130,000 requested will take part in the train driving experience on Dec. 10.

These types of train driving experiences are popular, which explains the high donation amount requested. The donation can be made through the JRE MALL online shopping site.

The four donors will each drive a train for a return journey over a 500-meter section of tracks inside the Kawagoe train depot under the guidance of a JR engineer. The four can try their hands on other tasks as well, such as raising and lowering pantographs.

“We would be happy if people support Kawagoe through this special experience,” a Kawagoe municipal government official said.