Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Journey to Izumo: The Trolley

After our meal at Izumoshi Station, I decided the check the times for the trolley that leave for Izumo-taisha-mae station. When I approached the trolly stand, I was surprised to see it unstaffed, with only an old rusty ticket machine.

Apparently the trolly leaves only a few times a day, and we still had another hour to kill before the next departure. I bought my ticket and went to shop at the station's mini-mall, which consisted of a rock quarry, a man-made indoor pond, and about 8 shops. We were among the only people in the train station the whole time. The scene was terrible depressing, but somehow I was charmed by it.

Our classy ride

The trolly to Izumo is a tiny version of a train that shuffles passengers from the main hub of Izumo station, to the truly rural parts of Izumo.

The train itself looks to be from the 1960s or 70s. In fact, it is sort of charming that they haven't updated it in all these years. Why would they? There were barely any passengers when we were there.

Instead of the elaborate kaisatsuguchi (ticket gates) in the train stations fo Tokyo and Osaka, to board the Izumo trolly all you do is show your ticket to the man at the window, who only appears 15  minutes before the train departs, and promptly disappears afterwards. With only a few departures a day, it's hard to justify why he would need to work more.

Because we didn't want to haul our luggage with us to the Taisha, we checked into into a locker at Izumoshi stations. I had also, foolishly, hidden my umbrella on top of the locker, way out-of-sight from anyone, and yet somehow, when we returned, it vanished. It remains forever in Izumo

Looks totally legit

my friend just doing his thing

Along the way are many wonderful sights of the countryside. Rice fields, old Japanese rooftops. It was a gloomy day, the skies were streaked with grey and rain was falling intermittently. 

The train line is known as the Kita-matsue Line. After about 10 minutes of riding on the red velvet seats, who come to Kawato station, where everyone dismounts the trains, and boards an identical train for the Taisha  Line. Another ten minutes, go by, and you arrive at Izumo-Taisha-mae station, which  is appropriately named, "In front of Izumo Taisha" station.

Waiting to change train lines

View from the window 

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