Thursday, November 20, 2014

Old Castle Town on the Nichinan Line

Diesel rail car JR Kyushu Type KiHa 40-8000 travels on the Nichinan Line near Obi Station
 
Obi is a small town in Nichinan City, Kyushu Island, which is located about 1,300 km southwest of Tokyo. It has grown as the castle town of the lords of Hyuga-Obi Province since the 16th century. Although the main tower was demolished during the Meiji Restoration in the 19th century, we can still see some castle buildings and the stone walls that surround the castle. Along with the castle ruin, the old samurai residential area is a popular sightseeing spot in Obi Town. Looking at the old samurai residences and storehouses, the visitors can soak in the ambiance of the samurai era.

To get to this historical town, JR Kyushu Nichinan Line is convenient. Connecting Minami-Miyazaki on the Nippo Main Line and Shibushi in Kagoshima Prefecture, its total length is 88.9 km. Most of the route is a non-electrified single track. The gauge size is 1,067 mm. A one-car or two-car train, the diesel rail car Type KiHa 40 series is operated every hour on average. The train runs without a conductor on board because it has fewer passengers than the main line.

The KiHa 40 series was launched in 1977 to replace old models such as the KiHa 10 series. A total of 888 units had been manufactured for six years. The KiHa40 brothers are seen across the country such as Hokkaido Island, the Tokyo metropolitan area and the Chugoku District. The white body with a blue stripe is called Kyushu-color train on the Nichinan Line.

 
Old samurai residential area in Obi Town near Obi Station