Part 6: The Yufuin no MoriWelcome to the last part of our series on sightseeing trains in Kyushu!
In a previous article, we have already written about the special things to do and stay in Yufuin, Kyushu’s famous onsen place next to (and as famous, if not more, than Beppu). For those economically minded and not having the JR pass, the highway express (half as cheap) will be a better bid than the Yufuin no Mori. This time, however, we’re going to write about the oldest sightseeing train (also one of the most famous) in Kyushu. If you are thinking about planning a trip, please go and check that article too!
The conductor’s room.
The train is of a greenish color, a bit similar but less bright than that of the one used in Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen. There are three cars in total, and conductor’s rooms with big clear glasses at either end.
Design of the train
Because of how old the line is, the design is quite different from the newer D&S trains like SL Hitoyoshi, Kawasemi/Yamasemi etc. that we wrote earlier. Although there is a buffet car (between cars 2 and 3) and another public gallery area with big glasses (where you can eat, chat etc.) near car 3, the seating is predominantly like a normal train (just like the Kyushu Odan Tokkyu we wrote in our last article).
You can take a live view on Google Map:
There are two scenic spots where the train will ride slower: the Jion Waterfall (慈恩の滝) and Mount Kirikabu (伐株山). The trainwomen told us the following legends with those two places.
The Jion Waterfall(慈恩の滝)
For the waterfall, it is said that once upon a time, there was a gigantic serpent with a tumor, which made it in so much agony that it became irritable. Whenever it is angry, it lashed out on the innocent villagers, making them very afraid. At this time, a monk passed by the village and, upon learning this, made a promise with the serpent, that in exchange of curing its disease it would no longer hurt the villagers –– and that was what happened. Thus the name of the waterfall – which means amnesty.
Mount Kirikabu (伐株山)
For Mount Kirikabu, it is said that in the past, there were a lot of big kusunoki (camphor trees) which made the villagers unable to farm etc. because there was no light. They hired a Herculean man of great strength and logged them down – hence the name of the mount, which means logging.