- The beginning of a Journey
- Special SL Latte
- Time travel to the early Showa period!
- Senzu, the final stop
- How to get a good deal
The beginning of a Journey
It takes 1 hour by train from Tokyo by taking the Hikari bullet train. Take the Tokaido Main line to Oigawa Railway to get to Shin-kanaya station in 30 minutes.
You’ll see the SL locomotive waiting on the tracks waiting for you to begin your journey!
Kanaya is famous for its green tea. It was the season for newly harvested tea, so there was a free Kayana tea service in front of the station. Kanaya tea has a sweet and refreshing taste. The combination of the tea and the hospitality from the girls helped relieve me of my fatigue.
I bought an SL Express ticket at the “Plaza Loco” in front of the station. You can also buy some souvenirs and Ekiben (packed lunches) there.
This area is a reproduction of Kanaya’s station and platform around the mid 1970s.
Special SL Latte
In the waiting room of the Shin-Kanaya station, you’ll find a cute little coffee stand called 「This Is Café」 . I recommend the “SL latte,” decorated with SL art made from cocoa powder. It’s so KAWAII! They use a very rare espresso machine and it tastes so good. You can bring the coffee on the train or drink it while you relax in the waiting room.
Time travel to the early Showa period!
After enjoying all of what Shin-Kanaya station had to offer, I realized that it was already time to board. I got on the ”SL Kawane 1” train at 11：52. The train interior looked so retro and nostalgic, that I felt like I was back in the early Showa period! While eating my Ekiben, the train whistled to depart and the station staff waved at us as they sent us off. Here we go…
After a short while, the train staff came to welcome the passengers. The type of SL (C56, No.44) I rode today used to run in Hokkaido, but was transferred to Thailand during the Pacific War. Most of them were damaged during the war, but this SL was miraculously saved and returned to Japan.
One of the train’s staff members entertained us by playing the harmonica.
The train’s smoke was billowing over the top of the train and I could smell the burning coal. When I looked out the window, I could see the extensive green tea farms and some people waved their hands at us. Everyone burst out laughing when they saw some nude guys waving their hands from the famous hot spring, “Kawane Onsen”.
You can also purchase things on the train. The “dorayaki,” with its wheel emblem branded on the surface is available for purchase, as well as a massive amount of anko (Japanese sweet bean) sweets.
Senzu, the final stop
After an hour and twenty-minutes, I arrived at the final stop of my journey, Senzu station. The SL that brought me here was being reloaded with coal for its return trip. Bye-bye and Thank you for bringing me here! We were welcomed by “Thomas” locomotives on the platform. These locomotives only run from June to October! I took a photo with Thomas the train. I have loved it since I was a child. I think children love to ride on them during the summer holiday!
How to get a good deal
SL only runs once a day except for its relief service. Ōigawa Railway also has very few trains that go to Shin-Kanaya station, so be careful not to be late. You don’t want to have wait for another two hours to catch the next train. I looked through their schedule and have come up with an ideal schedule. (※ The plan is for Saturdays, as of May 30th, 2015. Please confirm the details of my schedule with their schedule.)
Tokyo 09:03-10:05 JR Shinkansen Hikari 465(Bound for Okayama)
Shizuoka 10:22-10:53 JR Tokaido Mainline（Bound for Hamamatsu）
Kanaya 11:04-11:09 Ōigawa Railway (Bound for Senzu)
Shin-Kanaya 11:52-13:09 SL Kawane 1
You can book the SL in advance online. If you are going Sumata-kyo or Igawa line, I would recommend getting a discount ticket at Kanaya station. I will write about the Sumata-kyo and Igawa lines in another article.
2 Chome-1112-2 Kanayaazuma Shimada-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture