Continued from the post: Travel Japan on a Train: Tadami Line (1/3)
After passing the small stations of Todera and Aizu-Sakamoto, the slow-moving Tadami River comes into the sight. Soon the train reaches Aizu-Yanaizu station.
The station is located a little away from the center of the town. As you walk to the town from the station, you will see many shops selling local confectionerie called Yanaizu Awa-manju (steamed buns made with millet and glutinous rice with sweet red bean paste inside). It may be fun to try some from few different sellers and compare the taste.
The town of Yanaizu is the gateway to Oku-Aizu that developed as a temple town centering on Fukuman Kokuzo Enzoji temple (Enzoji temple). Built in about 1,300 years ago, Enzoji temple is one of the three major temples dedicated to Kokuzo Bosatsu (the Bodhisattva of wisdom) in Japan. The wooden temple is built on a mountainside looking down the Tadami River and its stage offers a spectacular view. The temple is also recommended as an autumn foliage viewing spot. The vivid red, orange and yellow leaves add beauty to the large temple grounds.
Enzoji temple offers more than just a view. The statue of a cow called Nade-Ushi in the temple is also well known. It is said that the cow helped people to construct the temple, and if you rub the statue while making a wish, it will come true. It is the origin of the local toy in shape of a cow called Aka-Beko. Also the priests’ quarter and a Buddhist sanctum Okunoin Bentendo, which is designated as a national important cultural property, are worth checking.
Yanaizu is also a hot spring town with around 10 hot spring lodges in the town. Even if you are not going to stay over night, some of the lodges welcome day trip visitors, and there are foot-baths at road stations for everyone to use at anytime. It is not one of those major hot spring towns but is a quiet and small town with relaxed atmosphere.
The First Bridge
Once you depart Yanaizu, the train finally reaches the area with the superb view that is highly popular among the railfans. The train goes over many bridges looking down the Tadami River on the right and left. The First Bridge between Aizu-Hinohara and Aizu-Nishikata stations is probably the most famous bridge along the Tadami line. The view of the river reflecting the bridge and the train is stunning.
After passing Aizu-Nishikata station and the Second Bridge, the train reaches Aizu-Miyashita station. The station is located at the center of Mishimamachi town and is a manned station. There are town office, schools, and hospitals around the station as well as some hot spring lodges. This is also a town where day trip visitors can enjoy the hot spring.
Mishimamachi town has been putting much effort to attract tourists by offering tours to experience rural country life, some seasonal festivals such as the Snow and Fire winter festival, and etc. There’s a community cafe near the station named Karan Koron where you can get information of the town. You can also have delicious soba noodles and coffee, and take a look at local handicrafts at the cafe.
Continues to the post: Travel Japan on a Train: Tadami Line (3/3)