Road Trip on Tosa Kuroshio Railway Line (Part 2)
We continue our two-day train trip on Tosa Kuroshio Railway’s Nakamura Line and Sukumo Line in Kochi Prefecture. On our last train ride on the first day, we take the 5.55pm train from Ukibuchi Station to Nakamura Station. We are planning to spend the night at Nagomiyado Anjuan in the mountains.
We continue our two-day train trip on Tosa Kuroshio Railway’s Nakamura Line and Sukumo Line in Kochi Prefecture. On our last train ride on the first day, we take the 5.55pm train from Ukibuchi Station to Nakamura Station. We are planning to spend the night at Nagomiyado Anjuan in the mountains. It is a 40-minute walk from Nakamura Station so we want to rent bicycles. However, the rental shop is only open until 5.30pm.
We call the inn to get directions and enquire if Ajigekijo Chika, which was recommended to us on the first day, comes on the way. Loved by both locals and tourists, the tavern serves countryside cuisine using local ingredients from Shimanto. Its signature dishes include deep fried shrimp from Shimanto River, grilled mackerel sushi roll and a Japanese omelette made using eggs from Tosa Jiro, a local brand of chicken.
After dinner, we head to Nagomiyado Anjuan. It was built in 1964 and underwent renovations 15 years ago. We arrive at 8.35pm and are shown our room, called Moonlight. It is spacious and has a wooden deck from where one can watch the stars and enjoy the amazing night view of Nakamura.
The next morning, before breakfast, we relax in the outdoor bath which overlooks Shimanto River. The alkaline hot spring is said to be good for neuralgia, muscle pain and stiff shoulders. We later ask a local about spots worth visiting and he mentions a museum which has been built in the shape of a castle. The Shimanto City Folk Museum has many rare artefacts, exhibits related to creatures found in Shimanto River and artistic handicrafts from the Kamakura Period. It reopened in February 2019 after renovations. It takes about half an hour to walk there, so we decide to rent bicycles from the rental shop near Nakamura Station.
We ask a person at the shop to suggest a scenic spot near the river. We are told to check out a red railroad bridge, known as the Shimanto River Bridge. So we rent some electric bicycles and head for the bridge, which is a symbol of Shimanto City. The view of Shimanto River with the red bridge stretched over it is beautiful.
After this, we return the bicycles to the rental shop. We then catch the 11.30am train and travel from Nakamura Station to Hirata Station, riding on the Sukumo Line this time. The journey takes 20 minutes. We ask a lady at the station about good places to eat lunch. She highly recommends we try the stir-fried vegetables at Tenkachaya. The dish includes either beef or pork and the food is cooked on a hot plate in front of customers. However, upon reaching the restaurant, we find out that it is closed for the whole week.
Due to time constraints, we decide to head back to Hirata Station and take the train to Sukumo Station, the last stop of this trip. It is two stations away and we arrive at 2pm. The locals we speak to suggest we either eat at Kirin House - which serves hamburgers - or try the popular roasted pork ramen at Rairaiken. Kirin House, which has been around since 1971, is closed on this day. So we head to Rairaiken and order the soy sauce-based roasted pork ramen and miso roasted pork ramen. The sweet-tasting roasted pork is the main draw of the dishes. The pork is thinly sliced but very juicy and it goes well with the soup.
We next speak to a 92-year-old lady who mentions Hayashi Mansion. The gravestone of Tsuna Takeuchi - the father of Japan’s ex-PM Shigeru Yoshida - is located in front of the place. A monument here commemorates his father Tsuna and his older brother Meitaro. Hayashi Mansion was also the residence of Hayashi Yusaku, when he was the Minister of Agriculture during the Meiji Period. We then wrap up this two-day train trip, during which we visited places recommended by the locals and tried various delicacies.
1) History buffs should visit the Shimanto City Folk Museum, which displays rare artefacts and artistic handicrafts
2) Rental bicycles are a convenient way of exploring a town, but do check the rental shops’ opening hours in advance