Road Trip on Daiyūzan Line (Part 1)

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Road Trip on Daiyūzan Line (Part 1)

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Road Trip on Daiyūzan Line (Part 1)

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Our next journey of enquiry and discovery takes place along Izuhakone Railway’s Daiyuzan Line in Kanagawa Prefecture. The short railway line with merely 12 stations from Odawara to Daiyuzan spans 9.6km. It takes just 20 minutes to travel from one end of the line to the other without stopping. When it was first established in 1925, it mainly catered to people going to the Doryoson temple, located near the terminal at Daiyuzan Station.

We start our trip from Odawara Station. We get on the 9.35am train and go to Midoricho. A resident we meet suggests we visit the Fukusenji temple, which enshrines one of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune. It is dedicated to Mangan Benzaiten, who is also known as Benten. The statue is displayed for a month between New Year’s Day and the Setsubun Festival. All the seven deities are worshipped in different parts of Odawara City. 

After visiting the Fukusenji temple, we catch the 10.50am train to Gohyakurakan Station. A local here tells us about the Kawazu cherry trees which line the Sakawa River. There are about 55 trees spread out over 300m and the cherry blossoms start to bloom in early March. 

Our next stop is Iidaoka Station. A resident mentions a flower garden in a park managed by the city. There is also a roller slide for kids and adults near the park. We try out the slide, which is 169m long with a 30m drop. We then go to the park to see the Odawara Flower Garden. There is a greenhouse here boasting about 300 different kinds of tropical plants and flowers. The temperature inside is set to 22 degrees all year round. We get to see daisies, hibiscus, flowers from countries like Peru and a tropical plant with jade-coloured flowers. The flowers are in full between late March and late May. Outside the greenhouse, roses of various colours bloom between late May and early June. 

We head back to Iidaoka Station and take the 2.20pm train to Sagami-Numata, five minutes away. We are hungry so ask around about restaurants. Someone suggests Teppen, which serves Japanese and Chinese food. We order the recommended raw fish set, which only costs 550 yen. It includes yellowtail, horse mackerel, squid and tuna, all of which were caught in Sagami Bay. 

We ask the restaurant’s owner to suggest a hotel for the night. He recommends Iwashita Ryokan in an area called Sekimoto. It will take us an hour to walk there, so the owner’s wife drives us there. Like Daiyuzan Line, this traditional Japanese-style hotel was established in the late Edo period as a hotel for people who visit the Doryoson temple. A night’s stay in a Japanese-style room with eight tatami mats costs 5,000 yen, excluding meals.  

After a relaxing bath, we ask the inn’s fifth-generation owner to recommend a place for dinner.  He suggests Miyoshiya, which opened in 1934. It was renovated about 15 years ago and is known for its pot rice and grilled meat.


Tips:

1)    Early March is a good time to view cherry blossoms along Sakawa River near Gohyakurakan Station
2)    Visit Odawara Flower Garden’s greenhouse to see 300 types of tropical flowers and plants

Road Trip on Daiyūzan Line (Part 1)

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