Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Shizuoka – Oigawa Railway



I was really deciding whether to take this because it’s very expensive (about SDG$80-90 per person return) and the duration of the entire return trip takes one whole day.

On the second day, it rained in Shizuoka so we went to take the railway. You have to get to Kanaya station, cross over to the Oigawa railway station (which is just right beside the platform where you alight) and order tickets in Japanese (the uncle cannot speak or understand English at all). In Spring and Autumn, the seats will be sold out very fast so reservations (via the Japanese website) is necessary to avoid disappointment.




The first part of the trip from Kanaya to Senzu is where the SL (steam locomotive) plies. This is the only place in Japan where you can take a steam locomotive. There is ONE round trip a day on normal days and 3 during peak periods. Of course you can take the normal trains that run the Oigawa route but most people will pay the extra JPY540 to take the SL. Along the way, you can see verdant tea fields =) The second part is from Senzu to Ikawa (non SL) and the landscape transforms into tall trees and running waters.







You can buy the SL bento if you want.


At one part, the ABT system is attached to the train. It's a saw-toothed system that helps the train climb slopes. This is the only ABT system in Japan.


We didn’t go all the way to Ikawa. We took from Kanaya to Senzu, then from Senzu to Okui-kojo, one of the top 100 train stations in Chubu because it sits over a dam. We rested at Okui-kojo,



ate something (we brought food, there’s no food there) then came back to Senzu, then changed train to Fureai Kawane-onsen to have a dip in the open-air hot spring before heading back to Kanaya. If you’re there at the right time (12pm and 4pm) you can soak in the bath and watch the SL pass by… choo choo choo… We usually bring our own towels. The hot spring was super crowded with lots of old fogeys and some of them weren’t even soaking… they were just sitting around chatting… naked -.-

At Okui-kojo, if you’re up to it, you can actually hike down and walk on the dam. We didn’t hahaha...

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