Sightseeing trains and Meal boxes
In THE HEART OF THE SAN'IN REGION, there is a sightseeing train which you can eat inside and special trains which have manga characters as motifs. Trains made 100 years ago are preserved as cultural heritages in some places. Meal boxes are sold at the station and inside of the train. They are beautifully arranged and each dish is put into subsections, these dishes are also very colorful. It would be a wonderful moment to taste these dishes while watching the view through the windows of the train.
Take a bus from Izumo airport to Izumo Oyashiro, and after visiting the shrine (Izumo Oyashiro), head for another shrine in Monzen-cho. The wooden wide and flat Japanese-style building looks like a shrine, but you will be surprised to hear that this building was a station building. The railway station, which opened in 1912, is the terminal station of the Taisha line. The station building was renovated in 1924. The building as a station was closed with the abandoned line in 1990, but the ticket room and the interior such as the Japanese-style chandelier in the waiting room, and the elaborate decoration of the tiled roof, are still there and remain as they were at the time. The steam locomotive is parked at the platform in a manner that looks as if it is about to start running.
Take the sightseeing train "Ametsuchi", that began in 2018 and it’s starting point from Izumoshi station. The train name is derived from the oldest history book in Japan, which means "heaven" and "earth". It’s azure color body symbolizes the sea and sky in the San'in area. The interior of the two-cars train is decorated with local handicrafts such as wood sculptures, textiles, and Japanese paper. Parts of the table is filled with Sekishu tiles from Shimane prefecture, and the basin is made of pottery.
The service staff gets on and sells snacks and drinks at the counter. Advance reservations are required, but lunches and sweets could be delivered to your seat,too. Enjoy a meal from a long-history store in Matsue city and Sake. The dishes such as Shimane beef, fried eggs with conger eel and cheese grilled Daisen chicken, and cooked vegetables go well together with Sake. The type of sake is Junmai Ginjo which is characterized by gorgeous aroma, slightly dry and refreshing taste.
Occasionally, you can enjoy lake Shinji and Nakaumi on the left side of the window during your meal time.
Get off the train at Yonago station and stay around the station. In the center of the town, you will find where the wooden train “Fu No. 50”has been stored. The train ran south from Yonago station and was running on Hoshoji railway and was abandoned in 1967.
With a 25-minute bus ride from Yonago station, you will arrive at Hoshoji train park in Nanbucho. In the park is preserved the Deha 203 manufactured in 1922, which looks the same as it was more than 50 years ago( Reservation required). The train’s interiors feel irresistible and are filled with the warmth of trees and illuminated by orange lights.
Purchase a meal box at Yonago station. Gozaemon sushi’s meal is a representative meal box at stations of San'in area, and is made of vinegared rice (typical sushi rice) and juicy mackerel is wrapped in kelp seasoned with a secret sauce. In addition to the mackerel, there are crabs, trout, and horse mackerel. There is no sourness in the meal and the taste spreads slowly in the mouth.
On the Sakai line connecting Yonago station to Sakaiminato station, there is a Kitaro train featuring characters of the manga "Gegege no Kitaro", representative manga of Yokai(Japanese folk monsters). On the platform at Yonago station, character objects are placed, inviting you to the manga world.
The GOTO car maintenance center on the Sakai line, inspects and repairs rail cars in the San'in area. About 300 people are working on the vast site of 82,000 square meters. It takes one or two months to disassemble and inspect car bodies, bogies, engines, and electrical components. It is interesting only for sights that you do not normally see, such as suspended bodies and exposed engines and wheels. These Depots are usually closed but tours are held several times a year for a limited number of people.
At the end of the Sakai line is the shopping street 800 meters east of Sakaiminato station called "Mizuki Shigeru Road" and its name is from the manga "Gegege no Kitaro" . 177 bronze statues of the manga characters are placed on the sidewalk. At night, the area is lit up and the landscape changes completely as compared to daytime. There are shadows of youkai(Japanese folk monsters) appearing on the road, so you can enjoy a stroll all the way long.
The hotel "Oyado Nono" near Sakaiminato station has a hot spring bath on the top floor. The bath overlooks the city, and on a clear day you can see Daisen mountains. Inside of the hotel is like a tatami-style inn, but there is a bed to sleep more comfortably. Breakfast is a Japanese and Western style buffet and the recommended dish is a seafood bowl from which you can serve fresh seafood by yourself. * As of March 2020, the serving system has been partially changed.
The Sakaiminato seafood center is next to the fish market, and there are 12 fresh fish shops that sell cheaply landed fish that day. Crab is a specialty from winter to spring in this area, and there are shops that sell only crab,too. It is recommend to visit in the morning when there are plenty of choices.