Friday, May 11, 2012

Classic Street Car in the Castle City


Electric car, Tosa Type 600 leaves Kochi-jo-mae Stop on the Ino Line, Tosa Electric Railway

Shikoku (four provinces) is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan. It is located 600 to 800 km west of Tokyo. You can reach Shikoku by train directly from Tokyo, passing through the Seto-ohashi railway and road bridge (13.1km long suspension bridge on the Seto Inland Sea).

As its name suggests, there are four prefectures in Shikoku Island, namely Kagawa, Ehime, Tokushima and Kochi. Kochi is situated in the southern part of Shikoku Island. Its main city name is also Kochi. As of the year 2010, Kochi City had an estimated population of 343,000.

This city has grown as the castle city of the lords of Tosa Province, since the early 17th century. We can still see the beautiful castle tower in the center of the city as it was (see the following photo).

To visit this elegant castle, a street car is convenient from Kochi Station. It is operated by Tosa Electric Railway, a local private company since 1904. They have three routes in the city, and the total operating length is 25.3km, which is the second longest street car line in Japan.

My favorite tram is the Type 600 (see the top photo). It was manufactured from 1957 to 1964, but is still working as leading cars. Two large front windows, a large rounded front light and a highly raised up pantograph are very attractive for rail-fans. All cars are air-conditioned.

It would be more memorable for tourists to move by tram there, rather than by using cars or busses.

Kochi Castle near Kochi-jo-mae Stop on the Ino line, Tosa Electric Railway

More information about Tosa Electric Railway (in Japanese):