Road Trip on Yosan Line (Part 1)

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Road Trip on Yosan Line (Part 1)


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Road Trip on Yosan Line (Part 1)

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This week, we will travel along the JR Yosan Line, which links Takamatsu in Kagawa Prefecture and Uwajima in Ehime Prefecture. It runs along the Seto Inland Sea. Built in 1889, the line initially connected Marugame and Kotohira and was operated by Sanuki Railway Co. Worshippers would take the train to the shrine complex in Kotohira.  

We will ride on the local line from Kanonji Station in Kagawa to Matsuyama Station in Ehime. The journey will span 37 stations and cover a distance of 138km. Our first stop is Niihama Station, 10 stops away from Kanonji. On the train, we chat with a passenger who tells us about the Akagane Museum, which displays the works of Japanese artists. It also has the Akimatsuri festival’s taiko drum float which is about 4m tall.

We reach Niihama Station after about an hour. Our next train departs at 11.30am, which gives us 1.5 hours to visit recommended spots. We head to the museum first but unfortunately, it is closed on this particular day. We then ask a group of ladies to suggest another place and they mention the Sousaku District, where there is a combined commercial facility with cafes, hair salons, pet shops and other stores. They recommend we visit a famous shaved ice shop which uses locally made syrups of different flavours. One of the women offers to drive us there. However, when we reach the place, we find out it only opens at noon.

So we return to Niihama Station and catch the train to Iyo-Saijo Station, two stops away. We meet a student on the train and he tells us about a train museum near Iyo-Saijo Station. At Iyo-Saijo, we have 2.5 hours until our next train leaves at 1.55pm. We go to the Shikoku Railway Cultural Museum, which has several trains on display, starting with the 0 series. It showcases trains which were active during the Showa period. An example is the DF50 diesel railcar, the only one left in Japan which has been preserved in operating condition. Another is a 0 series bullet train which was originally built in 1976 and continued operating until 2000.  

Saijo City has been known as the Water Capital since the Edo period. There are around 3,000 spots called Uchinuki where spring water gushes from the ground. The water from Mount Ishizuchi and the Kamogawa area is drinkable and the locals would bring containers to fill with the water and take them home. We head to one such spot to taste the water.

Next, we take the train to Nyugawa, which is five stations away. We have to catch the 4.10pm train from here, which gives us two hours to explore the area. We ask some local residents to suggest a place for lunch. One of them is kind enough to show us the way to Udon Shop Tanuki. It has been around for about 40 years and the meat udon and tanuki udon are popular. The restaurant makes its own variety of thin noodles; the flour and water are adjusted according to the season and temperature. 

After lunch, we head by train to Imabari, four stops away. Imabari is known for its towels. It has been making them since the Meiji period, boasting over 100 manufacturers within the city. They make about 60 per cent of the towels in the country. We want to spend the night at Imabari and have to look for a hotel. One resident we talk to suggests Kokusai Hotel, so we make our way there. 

1) Check out a commercial facility in Sousaku District with its various cafes and shops when you visit Niihama
2) A must-see attraction in Saijo City is Uchinuki, where spring water gushes from the ground