Thursday, 11 January 2018

Traditional Garden and Ex-Hand-car Train in Shibamata

Replica of the hand-car is exhibited in Yoji Yamada Museum in Shibamata

I sometimes enjoy strolling with my family. It is a basically non-train spotting time, but as it happens, I found a railway-related exhibition in Shibamata last autumn.

Shibamata is one of the traditional areas in the eastern part of Tokyo. The area maintains the feel of the good old days in Tokyo. Firstly, we visited ex-Yamamoto House and Garden, which has a traditional Japanese style house and garden laid out about one hundred years ago. Specifically, the garden with a mound, a waterfall and a pond is my favorite. Drinking a cup of green tea in the old house,we admired the beautiful garden.

We then moved to Yoji Yamada Museum. It is a memorial museum for "Otoko-wa-Tsuraiyo (It's tough being a man)", the comic film series that was a big hit under the directorship of Yoji Yamada. The exhibits are the studio set and materials used in the movie. In the museum, I found a replica of a hand-car on the ex-Taishaku Hand-car Railway. This railway was opened in 1899 between Kanamachi and Shibamata stations (1.2 km). The gauge size was 610 mm. Operators pushed the car from behind. The hand-car was a lovely six-seater, but pushing the hand-car must have been hard work especially on rainy days and/or in a hot and humid summer season.

The track of the Taishaku Hand-car Railway was changed to a wider gauge and electrified in 1913 as part of the Keisei Electric Railway of today.

Garden of ex-Yamamoto House in Shibamata