Steam train sets out on winter run through Hokkaido

The snow-covered Kushiro wetlands of Hokkaido offer one of the most dazzling winter spectacles in Japan. And as tourists in the northern prefecture can attest, the best way to take them in is from the warm embrace of an old steam locomotive.

The train set out from Kushiro Station on Saturday for another seasonal run. It's back in action this year after missing last year's service with mechanical problems.

The five-car train was packed with about 240 passengers. People enjoyed servings of dried squid and crab prepared on coal stoves in the carriages.

One passenger who was riding the train with his wife said the couple, who are both rail enthusiasts, have been enjoying the service since they got married 23 years ago.

The service will continue through March 21, mainly on weekends.