Monday, December 28, 2009

Okayama - Tsuyama - Himeji Pt. 2

A Okaden car advertising the 100 year anniversary coming up in 2010.

On my whirlwind trip through Okayama - Tsuyama - Himeji I took a break from the JR lines for lunch and to ride the tram in Okayama. This great two line streetcar cuts through downtown Okayama. To be truthful, I'm not too sure where it goes or what you can see along it's route. I just went there to ride it. Offically the name is Okayama Electric Tramway [岡山電気軌道] but it's shortened to Okaden [岡電] in casual speech.

Higashiyama Station 東山駅

The Okaden is the primary shareholder in the Wakayama Electric Railway which they saved from closure is known for their funky cars and Station Manager Tama--a cat. You can see how both rail lines mix a sense of retro and historical preservation with a new progressive look towards running their railways. Okaden has a diverse rolling stock bookended by their "Momo" train which is new and streamlined, and their restored "Kuro" train which was built in 1969. The Kuro train is the oldest train in daily service in Japan. It runs five times a day and you can find the timetable here. I rode on there common rolling stock like the two trains shown above.

Tracks leading into the service area at Higashiyama Station 東山駅

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Okayama - Tsuyama - Himeji Pt. 1


Way back in August I took a round trip to Okayama, going up to Tsuyama, and coming back down to Himeji and back home. It was an entire day full of trains. I've posted some of pictures from the trip already here and here, but we'll get into the real meat of the trip now. First of some scenes from the fringe of the urban center of Okayama at the end of their great streetcar line, to be talked about later. I loved this shoe shop in the photo above. It looked lost in time. Below are some smokestacks from a small factory also near the shop. The sidewalk out here had crumbling concrete and broken tiles. Old shopping streets that looked unchanged since the day they were first built. A great old neighborhood that I wish I spent more time walking around in.