Sunday, March 17, 2013

Old Castle and Idol Train on the Isumi Railway


Diesel rail car, No. 351, "Jonny's Jr. Land Train" stands at Ootaki Rail Yard, Isumi Railway
 
As I mentioned before (see my blog on January 4th, 2013), Isumi is a local railway company in Chiba Prefecture. The route passes through beautiful countryside, and extends into unspoiled hilly areas.

One of the attractive spots on the route is Ootaki Castle (see the following photo). It was originally built in 1521 by a warlord, Mariyastsu Jokan. Although the present building is a replica, it is a palimpsest, where you will get a sense of the Japan of long ago. The inside of the castle is opened to the public as a history museum.

Along with the old castle, you can also see a very contemporary scene on the Isumi Railway. Look at the top photo. It is the diesel rail car number 351, "Johnny's Jr. Land" train, manufactured in 2012 by Niigata Transys Company.

What is "Johnny's Jr. Land"? It is a popular TV program whose main character is a male idol group, "Johnny's Jr". The purpose of this special poster train is to promote passengers, who love Johnny's Jr. In addition to its flashy exterior, many photographs and goods related with Johnny's Jr. are exhibited in the cabin of the train.

Thanks to Johnny's Jr., many teenage girls are flocking to this rural railway to get on this special poster train. There are many teenage girls, who go crazy over this young idol group in Japan.

It was right on the button, and Isumi Railway seems to have achieved success.
 
Ootaki Castle near Ootaki Station on the Isumi Railway