Sunday, May 7, 2017

Nagato-Yumoto: Historical Hot Spring on the Mine Line

Diesel rail-car, JR West KiHa 120 series, travels on the Mine Line

Nagato-Yumoto is a hot spring town in Nagato City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, about 1,100 km west of Tokyo. The first hot spring was found in 1427 by the chief priest of Taineiji Buddhist Temple. Its original spring source is still preserved with care by the temple. Nagato-Yumoto has been developing as a resort town since the 19th century, and it became popular after the opening of the Mine Line in 1924. I visited this traditional resort with my family last month.

The nearest station to the resort area is Nagato-Yumoto on the Mine Line. Connecting Asa on the Sanyo Main Line and Nagato-shi on the San-in Main Line, the operating length of the Mine Line is 46 km. The track is single and un-electrified. The train is operated every two hours on average.

JR West's diesel rail-car, the KiHa 120 series, is a sole fleet on the Mine Line. It is operated alone or with two cars. The 120 series is a small sized (16.3 meter-long) rail-car launched in 1991 to replace the old models, the 20, the 35, and the 45 series. So far, 89 units have been built by Niigata Tekkosho and JR West Goto Factory.

After getting off at Nagato-Yumoto Station, we visited the resort area. Plenty of Koinoboris (carp streamers) were flying above Otozure River. Children's Day was nearly upon us. The local people were praying for the healthy growth of children of the world by putting up the carp-shaped banners.

Koinoboris (carp streamers) fly above Otozure River near Nagato-Yumoto Station