June 10, 2010

Oigawa Railway

To me, one of the best things about Japan is the train system. Shizuoka has some awesome scenic lines like the Minobu Line and the Oigawa Railway. The bit of Japan through which the Oigawa Railway passes is beautiful and epic. I use the word epic a lot to describe nature in Shizuoka because it leaves me in such awe.
The Oigawa Railway has two lines - the Oigawa Main Line and the Ikawa Line. Check out the Wikipedia entry for more information. I took the Main Line from from its start at JR Kanaya Station to its end at Senzu Station. The journey is 75 minutes of bliss. The trains themselves are like museums. This is also the line that operates the famous Shizuoka steam locomotive. You can ride the locomotive but you have to check the times in advance as (I think) it only makes one return trip each day. The normal trains are much more regular.

The Main Line goes along the Oi River, with views of flower covered river banks, tea fields and lots of green. Children wave at you at the small town stops along the way. The one way fare is 1810 yen and worth every penny I think. You don't have to go all the way to Senzu but I did because I wanted to visit the Sumata Valley. Kawane Town, known for its onsens, is also along the way. The Jorudan site is a great tool for planning train travel anywhere in Japan. The pictures below are all summer shots. I'd like to go back in the fall when the leaves change color. That is supposed to be the best time to visit.

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