Stroll of spring across the Boso peninsula

This week is the last week (where you can enjoy the spring flowers) before the raining week ahead.

NHK’s “Good Morning Japan” weekday news program in sometime during end of March.

On a Saturday morning in early April, I took advantage of the sunny morning to travel through the Boso Peninsula (房総半島) via two local railways – Kominato Railway (小湊鉄道) on the Kominato Line and Isumi Railway (いすみ鉄道) on the Isumi Line to view the spring scenery and hop onto diesel powered trains, which were quite popular among train fans and tourists in general.

I bought a special one-way “Travelling through Boso Peninsula” ticket (cost 1370 JPY) allowing the passenger to travel through both railways, starting from the western part of Goi (五井) station (JR Uchibo Line) to the eastern part of Ohara (大原) station (JR Sotobo Line) (map shown below).

The Trans Boso Peninsula travel map
(https://www.kominato.co.jp/tourism/transboso/index.html)
The “Travelling through Boso Peninsula” train ticket which allows a one-way, multiple stops from Goi station to Ohara station in the Kominato Railway and Isumi Railway line.

Equipped with the train ticket (left), I hopped on the diesel powered train on the Kominato Railway line. Perhaps the weather was nice that morning, there were many people on board the train.

The diesel powered train has only a few cars, since it ran on a lesser populated local line. As the train gradually moved across the peninsula, the burnt diesel smell lightly filled the train, even with a proper ventilation in place. I can smell it even with a mask on.

Definitely a unique experience for people living the urban area. (This is also a huge tourist spots for people from Tokyo.)

The diesel train left the station at 9 a.m. with a considerable amount of passengers on board. Along the tracks as the train moved at a steady pace, I was able to see the canola flower field and the remaining blooming sakura flowers, which really suited the spring season that was going to quietly wrap up in the Kanto region.

The diesel powered train on the Kominato Railway line in Goi station – before departure.
The canola flower fields with people taking photos of the train and its surroundings.

Along the number of train stations passed by, I hopped off at Yoro Keikoku (Yoro Valley) station, which is one stop away from the terminal station for Kominato railway line, to stroll around. There was only one train for each direction every one or two hours, hence it was a perfect place to enjoy the nature scenery and take a quick rest.

The station sign for Yoro Keikoku station.
The Yoro Keikoku station exterior view.

Upon exiting the station, I strolled around to find spring flourishing around. The yellowish and pinkish colours painted the surroundings which made the slightly cloudy noon even better.

Train tracks of the Yoro Keikoku station with signs of springs.
A farmer working on the rice fields.

This day was “Yoro Keikoku no Hi” (Yoro Valley Day), hence there were events and performances commemorating this day. It lasted for the entire noon as dances and folk songs were performed by the local community. Under the warm sun, this was definitely enjoy to watch.

Drum performances by the local Yoro Valley community for the occassion.
A special reserved locomotive train for passengers which headed for the Goi station direction.

After resting for a while, I boarded the train on the Kominato railway to transfer for the Isumi railway. Using the same ticket, I was able to board another diesel powered train on the Isumi railway to continue my journey. Despite the same train engine types, the train used by Isumi railways was a bit special.

The Kazusa-Nakano terminal station for both Kominato and Isumi railways.

I strolled briefly around the Kazusa-Nakano station (above), which was the terminal station for both railways. The ageing station stood out amongst the mailbox and vending machines. There were several tourist spots (including castle) around this area, but I decided to visit them next time, as I had only little time. I queued with other passengers eagerly wanted to board the Isumi railway train.

Station with two platforms served by two railway companies. (left – Isumi Railway, right – Kominato Railway)
The express train serving on the Isumi (夷隅) railway.

I mentioned earlier that the trains on the Isumi railway was special because… this was a refurbished JR West train! An old local line railway map of the Oito Line (大糸線) and Hokuriku Line (北陸本線) (see below) served in the Itoigawa area in Niigata prefecture, along with the JR West logo was still left intact.

I transferred again at another station, Otaki (大多喜) station, to head to my final destination, Ohara (大原) station on the same Isumi railway line. In this round, the other passengers and I hopped onto another “one-man” train (yellow-green colored).

The one person manned “one-man” train bound for Ohara station.
The waiting area for trains headed for the Ohara direction.

As we departed to the Ohara station direction, the station staff and railway fans (or tourists) waved their hands, and off we went into the towns as the clouds grew uneasily and it began to rain.

Station staff (left) and tourists (right) looking at the train as it was about to depart.

I arrived at Ohara station some time after 3 pm, ended after more than 6 hours of journey (mainly) on train. As I exited (and completed) the Isumi Railways route, I hopped onto the JR (Japan Railways) Sotobo line headed back home. I was lucky to witness the newly introduced, brand new E131 series train (went into use in March 2021) “one-man” train for this train line, which I thought was pretty.

The yellow-blue color scheme represented the main JR lines in the peninsula – Sotobo Line (外房, meaning “outer side”, represented by the yellow color) and Uchibo Line (内房, meaning “inner side”, represented by the blue color).

The newly replaced, brand new E131 series train operated only by a person (“one-man” train) on the Sotobo line headed for Kazusa-Ichinomiya station.

The Boso Peninsula is truly a wonder, in my opinion, as it has the Pacific ocean, Tokyo Bay, and the wonderful nature that changes color in every season that one can enjoy at once. If you’re nearby Tokyo, do consider spending a day here!

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