Tottori: Sanin Region’s First Railroad Marks 100 Years Since Opening; Passenger Cars on Display

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A passenger car on display in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture

YONAGO, Tottori — Hosshoji Densha, the first railroad in the Sanin region, was launched a century ago this year. For those wanting a peek at the now defunct line, two of its wooden passenger cars can be found on display in Tottori Prefecture, where the railroad had terminal stations.

Though the railroad was closed in 1967, the passenger cars on display are a faithful reminder of its history.

The line opened along its full length on Aug. 12, 1924, carrying riders over the 12.4 kilometers between Yonagoshi Station in Yonago and Hosshoji Station in Nanbu in 40 to 50 minutes.

Though the trains were not fast — clocking in at only 30 kph at top speed — in their heyday, they were packed during rush hour every morning thanks to their comfortable rides and low fares. They transported more than one million passengers every year from fiscal 1959 to 1964 as a major way locals commuted to work or school.

The passenger cars were nicknamed “matchboxes” for their cute appearance. Of the two on display, one can be found at Kinaru Nanbu, a municipal facility near the former site of Hosshoji Station in Nanbu, and the other at Motomachi Patio Square in Yonago.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A passenger car on display in Nanbu, Tottori Prefecture

“The passenger cars tell of the passion of our predecessors. I hope people will have a look at them and see why they were loved by the local community,” said Yoko Sasao, chief curator of the Yonago Municipal Historical Museum in Yonago.