Join the railway journey with Kushiro SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen train!
This seasonal train dashes from Kushiro station to Shibecha station during winter is a sightseeing train not only train geeks are addicted.
The train is decorated in a Showa design and is a real Steam Locomotive train. Originally started running from 1940, ended its job at first, but was fixed from 1998, and from 2000 this train runs as “Kushiro SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen train”.
Black and white steams and the whistling sound touch the heart of a traveler.
▲“Kushiro SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen train” before leaving, at Kushiro station.
It was box seats, and me and the cameraman sat together with small brothers living in Kushiro. Their grandfather was sitting near them.
▲With the boy I sat together.
This was first time we met but we never stopped talking, as the cameraman was from Kushiro and had lot of common topics.
Toast dried squid on the coal stoveInside the car has the atmosphere of Showa, somewhat warm and retro. You are able to toast the dried squid, which is sold at the cafe car, on the coal stove.
▲The cafe car
This coal is the same coal that is used to run this train. The company in Kushiro digs the coal from Pacific Ocean.
▲I guess many of you have not seen the real coal.
Dried squid is from Akita Shouten in Kushiro. The cameraman says “if you are looking for dried squid in Kushiro, Akita Shouten is the place to go”. The dried squid was huge!
I had the toasted dried squid with the man from Jamaica and currently living in Kushiro, who was sitting in front of the stove. He came to Japan after studying Japanese and spoke Japanese really well. He said this was first time to try dried squid.
I touched the warmth of people during this railway journey.
▲Flat dried squid squeezed in a second right after I started toasting!
Japanese cranes, one of the Special Natural Monuments appear!You will be able to enjoy changing views of Mount Oakan, Mount Meakan, Kushiro River, large wetlands, and various shapes of trees.
Lake Shirarutoro and Lake Toro are frozen and snow piled up. The view is all white so you may not be able to notice the lakes unless someone tells you.
Other than that, I saw deers and foxes. I heard that white-tailed eagles and rabbits sometimes appear as well.
▲Footprints on the snow were so near.
In addition, I could see the Japanese cranes, which is one of the icon of “Kushiro SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen train”. The stationmaster of Kayanuma station feeds historically, I could see few Japanese cranes. Everyone was amazed and the train was filled with shouts when one of the cranes flew to the sky.
▲The beautiful Japanese cranes
As I was looking outside of the window, it became lunch time. I bought Eki-ben (station bento box) and Sapporo Classic Beer. About the time when my stomach became full, I arrived at Shibecha station, the end of the journey.
All passengers need to get off here, including those people who has round trip tickets. You could watch the train changing direction if you stay at the platform.
▲Bento box bought in the train.
▲Changing direction at Shibecha station.
▲The train engineer changing direction of the train.
2016 timetable is almost over! Hurry up!“Kushiro SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen Train” leaves from Kushiro and stops at Higashi-Kushiro, Kushiro Wetland, Touro, Kayanuma, and Shibecha. It’s the other way round when you go back to Kushiro from Shibecha.
You can choose the round trip to enjoy the view fully or get off at some point and wait for the train to go back. Of course, you are able to leave for different directions by transferring the train, there are also people who are traveling to Kawayu hot springs from Shibecha.
This year (2016), the train runs until 28th February. Details are on the website.
I hope you enjoy your railway journey in winter!
Related Websites- Kushiro SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen train
- Kushiro SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen train timetable (Nov 2015 - Feb 2016)
- Hokkaido Railway Company
Hokkaido Likers Writer FUKKO
Photograph by Yasuyoshi Otaki