by Mary Torricke-Barton
Photos by Phillip Torricke-Barton
On Sunday 11th November, Hiroshi, Felicity, Phil and I went on the “Oza Toro Tenbo Train”. It is a special train trip from Aizu-Wakamatsu to Tajima run by Aizu Tetsudo during autumn.
On the train we had a choice of three carriages, each with different style seating. We chose the tatami carriage. Fortunately for us, it was a rainy day which kept the crowds away, giving us the chance to sit anywhere we wanted to.
The scenery between Aizu-Wakamatsu and Tajima is always beautiful, as the train goes through the mountains and along the river, but it was extra special with the variety of autumn colours and the low-lying clouds around the mountains. Being a tourist train, there were a few places where we stopped on bridges over the river for photo opportunities. The rain even cleared a bit to let us have a better view!
Another feature of this train ride was a special “illumination” in the tunnels. As the train went through the tunnels, there were some pictures/cartoons projected onto the walls of the tunnel. This was only visible from the middle carriage where there were no lights on, but it took us a little while to figure out that we had to change carriages if we wanted to see it!
The journey took about 1.5 hours. We arrived in Tajima around lunchtime, so the four of us went and ate some tasty soba while enjoying more lovely autumn mountain views out the window of the restaurant.
We had left a car in Tajima the previous day, so after having coffee at a cafe, we started the drive home. We stopped at Yunokami Onsen Station, which has an outdoor foot bath next to the station. If you can’t bring yourself to get naked in a real onsen just yet, this will give you a taste of the onsen experience without taking your clothes off! We sat by the bath for quite some time, enjoying the warm water on our feet and legs, and then drove the rest of the way home.
The special train trip is also run in spring, so if you have the chance I definitely recommend it!