Nara Pref. ‘Railroad Town’ Holds Online Photo Exhibition; Steam Locomotives Were Once a Common Sight in Oji

Courtesy of Itsuro Tenpaku
A steam locomotive makes a stop at Oji Station

NARA — The local tourism association in Oji, Nara Prefecture, has opened a gallery featuring train and railroad photos on the website Guidoor, aiming to raise the profile of the town where the prefecture’s first railway began its service.

About 20 photos exhibited online were taken in Oji in the 1960s and ’70s by Itsuro Tenpaku, a railway photography aficionado of Ikoma in the prefecture.

The photos, mainly of steam trains, include one puffing smoke right next to a big sign for Oji Station. Another shows the steam locomotive D51895 running along the rails in its active service days. Today, that same locomotive is displayed at Funato Children’s Park in the town.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The SL train D51895 is displayed at Funato Children’s Park in Oji, Nara Prefecture.

Tenpaku said: “When I was a student, I used to visit Oji from my house in Ikoma to take pictures. Trains of both Japan National Railways [later broken up into companies including West Japan Railway Co.] and Kintetsu Railway Co. came to and went from the station, which made it a really good photo shooting spot in those days.”

The Guidoor website introduces cultural and sightseeing information about Japan. Guidoor collaborates with about 450 municipalities across the nation and provides information about tourism and daily life.

An official of the Oji town tourism association said: “The website helps us display the photos to people far away. We hope that people will get to know about the history of the town, which has developed centering on railways.”