Thursday, 11 June 2015

Nichinan Marine: Rapid Train to Devil's Washboard

Diesel railcar JR Kyushu KiHa 40-8000 series, rapid train "Nichinan Marine", leaves Kitago Station

Miyazaki Prefecture is located on Kyushu Island, some 1,300 km southwest of Tokyo. It is known as a sub-tropical region with a beautiful shoreline. In 1960s, Miyazaki was a tourist mecca for honeymooners. I still remember that I saw my uncle and aunt off at Tokyo Station, when they went on a honeymoon to Miyazaki Prefecture in the middle of 1960s.

Today, we seldom see honeymooners in Miyazaki; however, plenty of foreigners flock to this area. The famous Oni-no-sentakuiwa (Devil's Washboard) is one of the popular spots for tourists. What is Oni-no-sentakuiwa? It is an alternation of sandstone and shale geologic beds seen on the coast. These beds deposited in the deep sea around 7 million years ago, were recently uplifted and inclined. Due to the difference of resistance to erosion such as wave actions, the sandstone beds remained as convex superior portions, while the shale beds are eroded as concave portions.

To visit this oddly-shaped rock outcropping, please take the JR Kyushu Nichinan Line and get off at Aoshima Station. You can use a special rapid train, "Nichinan Marine", from Miyazaki Station on the weekend.

The diesel rail cars, KiHa 40 series, is commissioned as Nichinan Marine train. The above photo is unit number 8099 of the KiHa 40 series, built by Fuji Heavy Industries in 1980. The yamabuki (bright yellow) colored body, like the EMU 115 series in the Hiroshima area, stands out against lush green sub-tropical sceneries.

Devil's Washboard on the Aoshima Island near Aoshima Station on the Nichinan Line