Highlighting JAPAN Vol.124 September 2018
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OPENED in 1914, the Yodo Line There are two ways to enjoy the Yodo Line. If you are heading there from Kochi Prefecture, take the JR Dosan Line express train from Kochi Station—which takes one hour—get off at Kubokawa Station and change platforms for the Yodo Line. If you are coming from Ehime Prefecture, take the JR Yosan Line limited express from Matsuyama Station—connects the town of Shimanto in Kochi Prefecture and Uwajima City in Ehime Prefecture, and travels the 76.3-kilometer distance in about two hours and fifteen minutes. The line has a trio of unique trains: the local Railway Hobby train, modeled after first-generation bullet trains, the Kaiyodo1 Hobby Train—which showcases displays of figurines2 in the coaches—and the “Shiman-Torocco,” a trolley made from remodeled freight cars that started running in 1984. The latter was the first of its kind in Japan. A journey on the Yodo Line, which mostly runs alongside the Shimanto River through two of Shikoku’s prefectures, is a delightful experience all around. Besides the scenic views from the windows, the unusual coaches and the way the train pops in and out of the superb scenery make it a ride to remember. SAYAKA KAWABEwhich takes about one hour and twenty minutes—and then change at Uwajima to the local train bound for Kubokawa. You can start your Yodo Line journey from the next station, Kita-Uwajima.The Yodo Line shadows the Shimanto River for almost its entire run through Kochi Prefecture. The train offers some of the best views of what is often called “the last clear stream in Japan.” The stretch between Tosa-Taisho and Ekawasaki stations is especially scenic, as the train appears to cut through the meandering river, and you can enjoy ever-changing views of the waters from both the right and left sides whenever you exit a tunnel. The landscapes from the train windows are so varied and dramatic that you hardly dare blink. To feel even closer to the magnificent scenery and feel the wind in your hair, ride the Shiman Torocco trolley, which only runs on spring and autumn weekends and holidays, Golden Week3, and during 30play videoRiding the Rails Along a Clear-Running River

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