Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Tokai-kan and Super-view Odoriko Train

EMU JR East 251 series, "Super-view Odoriko", stands at Yokohama Station
Ito is a main city in the Izu Peninsula of Shizuoka Prefecture, some 120 km west of Tokyo. This city is well known among Tokyoites as a resort with many hot springs.

One of the must-see spots in the city is Tokai-kan, which is a classic three-story wooden building. This construction was completed in 1928 as a traditional Japanese style inn. It is said that local carpenters vied with each other in art for construction. Since then, plenty of guests including famous novelists had been staying at Tokai-kan. Unfortunately, the inn was closed in 1997, but the building is open to the public as the owner moved to Ito City.

To get to Ito, the JR East Tokaido - Ito Line is convenient. It takes 100 minutes from Tokyo or 80 minutes from Yokohama Station. A unique designed limited express train, the EMU 251 series called "Super-view Odoriko" is my recommended train to Ito. The 251 series was launched in 1990 as a sightseeing train. As the train name, "Super-view", suggests, the 251 series boasts a superb view from the cabin, since the floor is higher than that of a normal train.

For your information, Odoriko means "a dancing girl", which comes from the famous novel, "Izu no Odoriko (The Dancing Girl of Izu)" by Japanese novelist Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972). He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, as the first Japanese novelist to receive the award.

A wooden retro buiding, Tokai-kan, is located near Ito Station on the JR East Ito Line