Local Train Lines: The Ride of Our Lives *RERUN
In this episode of Seasoning the Seasons, we present a story of local train lines across Japan. Deep in the mountains, there is a tranquil station with only 5 trains stopping a day. Some stations are run by unusual station-masters. Running modestly, but still going strong: Local train lines help run the lives of folks all over Japan. Let's go on a journey along local train lines close to the hearts of people. All aboard!

The Railroad Has Come! - Ikawa Line, Oigawa Railway (Shizuoka)

The Oigawa Railway runs along the Oi River in Shizuoka Prefecture. This is the only place in Japan where a steam locomotive runs every day. It attracts 600,000 tourists every year. The Oigawa Railway has a branch line, besides the main line where the steam locomotive runs. The Ikawa Line runs deep into the mountains along a steep valley. The line is 25.5km long. It began operating 60 years ago, connecting the surrounding villages, which had been inaccessible.

Volunteer Station-Masters - Hojo Railway (Hyogo)

Hojo Railway is an 8-station, 13.6km-long line that runs from Ao Station to Hojo Machi Station. At its 6 unmanned stations, there are "volunteer station-masters." Using their special skills and interests, they help to liven up the stations. At one of the stations, the station-master's office is transformed into a bar. The bar master is naturally a man who loves trains.

An Iron Road Leading to My Hometown - Minami-aso Railway (Kumamoto)

Minami-aso Railway runs through the caldera of Mount Aso at a length of 17.7km in Kumamoto Prefecture. Locals appreciate it as their transport lifeline. Trolley trains also come and go, which are popular with tourists. 2 mechanics protecting the safety of the railway are from Aso. Surrounded by the scenery of Japan's four seasons, an experienced maintenance staff walks seemingly endlessly along the railroad tracks.