The number of marriages in Japan has steadily declined over the past 20 years. And with a corresponding decline in the birth rate, the government has been prompted to finance a "love train" as a possible solution. The idea is that singles mingling on the train might meet that special someone.

On the outside it looks like an ordinary passenger train on a local Japanese line.

But Saturday's departure from Takefushin Station contains a romantically-charged cargo.

Dubbed the Love Train, the two-carriage locomotive is chartered to host a dating event organized in part by the local government authority.

Thirty single men and 30 single women paid two-thousand Yen, the equivalent of 22 US Dollars, to board the train in the hope of finding a partner.

The five hour journey including coffee and desert, and plenty of time to meet and talk to members of the opposite sex.

Takeuchi Kumiko, passenger, said, "There are a lot of women in my company. There are men as well, but they're mostly executives. I don't really talk to them. In fact I don't have much to do with them at all. So, being able to take part in an event like this is great."

Nishino Masaaiki, passenger, said, "I think that the likelihood that I will meet someone and start going out with them today is remote, but it would be great if I could meet someone I like and arrange a date with them in the near future."

Both Takeuchi and Nishino enjoyed their experience on the Love Train.

They each met someone whom they liked and managed to exchange e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

And, who knows? Perhaps they will finally find the person they've been looking for.