Trip to Aizu, Nikko and Hakone in 2014 winter – Part 11, Nikko to Ashio and Watarase Keikoku Railway

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This post is continued from the previous post, Trip to Aizu, Nikko and Hakone in 2014 winter – Part 10, sightseeing in Nikko.

I caught the bus at JR Nikko station. There are several bus stops. My bus stopped at “1B” where is located at left side from JR Nikko station.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

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The bus that I got on was Nikko city bus to Mato station. I was going to take Watarase Keikoku Railway from Mato station to Kiryu station. This bus is only way to get Mato station from Nikko.

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The bus fare is 1,100 yen for 30 minutes ride. I know it was not cheap. The demand was very low. When I was on board, there was only one other passenger.

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I arrived Mato station on time.

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I was worry about the bus because of much snow. But the road condition was good and the weather was getting better. The snow was melting so quickly.

When I got Mato station, there was a local train.

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But this was not one that I wanted to take. I needed to wait for 45 minutes.

Mato station is the end station of Watarase Keikoku Railway. This railway used to be JR Ashio line between Kiryu and Mato.

Ashio used to be major copper mine town. This railway was built for the freight train for mine. Actually this mine is very well known in Japan because it had a serious pollution about 100 years ago. Since this mine was closed in 1970’s, population was decreasing.

While I was waiting for the train, I walked around the station. But nothing was around the station. I walked for 10 minutes and I saw a railroad crossing.

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But this one had not worked anymore. From Mato station, another couple kilometer of track was existed. Because huge mine was there. Since it was closed, this track was closed too.

The train that I wanted to take was Torokko Wasshi.

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This train is Torokko style (open air) train. It is very popular in summer and fall foliage season. In winter time, this train runs on weekend only. You have to get Torokko ticket in advance. You can purchase a base fare ticket in the train but you can’t purchase Torokko ticket in the train. I purchased it at JR Midori no Madoguchi at Akihabara station. But JR staff was not very familiar with this train. I also purchased Aizu Railway’s Torokko train ticket. She was not very familiar with Aizu Railway either.

This train was designed for the tourists. It is nice and very interesting interior.

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It has wood structure bench seats.

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There was operator seat for kids.

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Some souvenir were available.

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In summer time, all window was removed and can enjoy fresh air. It was closed because of winter when I was on board. But I really enjoyed the scenery through the huge window. This train runs along Watarase river gorge.

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Some stations of Watarase Keikoku Railway are very interesting.

At Godo station, there was a restaurant.

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This restaurant used old train for the dining.

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This train was Tobu Railway’s Limited Express train, “Kinu” and “Kegon”.

At Mizunuma station, there were restaurant and Onsen bath.

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Kamikanbai station was build in 1912. This building is National Heritage.

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And train got Omama station.

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This is the biggest station of Watarase Keikoku Railway. This Torokko train, Wasshi was operated as local train from Omama to Kiryu.

Trokko train trip came to the end and arrived at Kiryu station.

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I transferred to JR Ryoumou line to Takasaki.

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I was going to take Shinkansen from Takasaki and stayed in Hakone. I will write about this trip at next post, Trip to Aizu, Nikko and Hakone in 2014 winter – Part 12, Takasaki to Hakone via Odawara.

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