Friday, June 1, 2012

Gomen-Nahari Line, Visit to the Heartland of Tosa Domain


Railcar Tosa-Kuroshio Type 9640 arrives at Tano Station on the Gomen-Nahari Line

Following my blog on May 11th, I would like to introduce the other railway in Kochi Prefecture. That is Tosa-Kuroshio Railway, which took over the ex-JNR (Japanese National Railways) Nakamura Line.

This company opened a new route, Gomen-Nahari Line in 2002, sixteen years after it was founded. Connecting Gomen on the JR Shikoku Dosan Line and Nahari in the eastern part of the prefecture, the total length is 42.7km. A lovely rail car Type 9640 is operated every half an hour during the daytime (see the top photo).

The train of the Gomen-Nahari Line makes you visit to the heartland of Tosa Domain (now Kochi Prefecture), because there are many hometowns of Ishin-shishi on this line. Who are "Ishin-shishi"? They were anti-shogunate political activists in the 19th century. The group of Ishin-shishi overthrew the Tokugawa Shogunate, and established a new government in 1867. This restoration was the important turning point in Japan's transition from a feudal society to a modern nation. Yataro Iwasaki, later the founder of Mitsubishi Group, was born near Aki Station. Meanwhile, Shintaro Nakaoka, who has brought together the anti-shogunate people, was from Kitagawa Village near Nahari Station.

Why did many Ishin-shishi come from Kochi Prefecture? Although there are a lot of views, I guess it is because the people in this prefecture were independent, adventurous and ambitious, distant from the nation's major cities. You can see one of such a merchant's houses near Tano Station even today (see the following photo).

Oka-goten (Palace of Oka Family) built in the Edo Period near Tano Station 

More information about Tosa-Kuroshio Railway:
http://www.tosakuro.co.jp/tosakuro/top_E.html
More information about the railcars of Tosa-Kuroshio Railway (in Japanese):