• Japan In Focus

Shimane: Sightseeing Tram Makes Last Run

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People see off the Orochi tram on the platform of JR Kisuki Station in Unnan, Shimane Prefecture.

UNNAN, Shimane — The sightseeing tram on the JR Kisuki Line made its final run on Nov. 23 when it was retired due to its age. Locals and railway fans alike gathered at stations or along the railroad to say goodbye.

The Okuizumo Orochi special train began service in 1998 after strong requests from municipalities along the route to make the tram a local symbol for tourism promotion.

The tram ran between Kisuki Station — or sometimes Izumoshi Station — in Shimane Prefecture and Bingo-Ochiai Station in Hiroshima Prefecture from April to November every year. The tram’s glassless windows offered a pastoral view of the mountainous region.

About 70 local residents waved flags along the train line in the town of Okuizumo to bid farewell.

“This doesn’t really feel like the last time I will see the tram. I feel so thankful for all the good it did here,” a 47-year-old woman said.

The tram arrived at its terminal of Kisuki Station at 4:06 p.m. and was greeted by about 400 people on the platform. After it ended operations, fans gathered around the Orochi for a commemorative photo session at a nearby railroad facility.

A 37-year-old man from Okuizumo, who served as conductor on the final run, said: “This is my hometown. I always wanted to work on the Orochi tram. It’s sad to think that I won’t be able to ride it anymore.”