The climate of Japan varies from region to region. Normally, it continues fine days in the Pacific Ocean side during winter, but it has heavy snowfall in the Japan Sea side.
Webmaster and a friend had a two-day journey to the snow country by train.
The first day:
Tokyo – (Shinkansen) – Echigo-yuzawa – (JR Joetsu Line) – Koide – (JR Tadami Line) – Aizu-wakamatsu
We took shinkansen toward the north (the Japan Sea side) from Tokyo. There was no snow cover on the ground until passing Takasaki Sta.
There appeared snow on the ground near Jomo-kogen Sta. just before the watershed but it was very thin.
Then, after passing the tunnel under the watershed the view changed dramatically.
We reached Echigo-yuzawa Sta.
At the station, Webmaster took lunch. It was tare-katsudon – a bowl of rice topped with a pork cutlet dipped in soya based sauce.
We transferred to local train for Koide Sta.
we were already in snow country.
At Koide Sta. we transferred to another train of Tadami Line which runs in the mountainous area.
Some views from the train.
Originally Tadami Line connects Koide Sta. and Aizu-wakamatsu Sta. directly, but it is disconnected now because some bridges were washed away due to the heavy rain in June 2011. Those are under repair now, and substitute bus services are operated between Tadami Sta. and Aizu-kawaguchi Sta.
We arrived at Tadami Station where we needed to transfer to a substitute bus.
Aizu-kawaguchi Sta. where we took a train again. The train was waiting for us. It became fine!
A snowplow standing by at the station
The train was running along Tadami River in snow country.
It became 4PM. This was the last train for today, and we still had one hour and half to the destination. So, we started taking a little sake (Japanese rice wine).
These are tinned sake putting on a plastic cup on top. Good job!
Now, kanpai (cheers)!
While taking sake, the train entered Aizu Basin. This huge snow field is rice field in summer.
We arrived at Aizu-wakamatsu Sta. just after dark. It started snow again. This is the end of the first day.
The second day (Original):
Aizu-wakamatsu – (JR Ban’etsu West Line) – Niitsu – (JR Shinetsu Line) – Niigata – (Shinkansen) – Tokyo
Aizu-wakamatsu Station in the morning
We wanted to take another “snow train” of Ban’etsu West Line to Niigata, but all the services for this direction were suspended due to heavy snow. There was no way but we reluctantly headed to the opposite Pacific Ocean side.
The second day (modified):
Aizu-wakamatsu – (JR Banetsu West Line) – Koriyama – (Shinkansen) – Tokyo
The platform and tracks of the station covered with snow. The head of the train was also covered with snow.
The view at the front of the train
Now, arrived at Koriyama Sta. Can you see the tracks are not thickly cover with snow? We are getting out from snow country.
From Koriyama Sta. transferred to shinkansen toward Tokyo.