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3Sep/190

Eizan Dentetsu, Kyoto – June 2019

After three weeks of gallivanting around Japan, my rail pass had run out. But thanks to some intricate planning, I'd already been to the southernmost point, westernmost point, northernmost point and easternmost point of the JR network. It was therefore time to check out places much closer to the apartment in Shin-Osaka. The following location just happens to be one of my favouries and, yes, I've been here quite a few times before.

Getting to the Eizan Railway

From Shin-Osaka, you've got a few methods to get to the north-east of Kyoto. One way could be to take any JR service to Kyoto and then transfer to either a bus or the subway. Another is to take the Midosuji Subway from Shin-Osaka or Nishinakajima-Minamigata south to Yodoyabashi Station and then Keihan straight through to Demachiyanagi Station. Finally, you can do the same with Hankyu, hopping on at Minamikata Station, transferring to a Kyoto-bound service at Ibaraki and then transferring once more to the Keihan Railway at Kawaramachi Station. This final option lets you walk across the famous bridge over the Kamo River at Gion-Shijo!

I ended up going a totally different way. I'd already checked out Demachiyanagi, and would end up there at the end of the day, so I chose to ride the subway from JR Kyoto all the way to the northern terminus at Kokusaikaikan Station and then walk over to Hachiman-Mae Station.

Hachiman-Mae Station

This is the first station on the Kurama Line after the Hieizan line splits to the east. As the name mentions, it's in front of the Hachiman Shrine, up the hill, to the north-east. I haven't ventured up to that one yet, but the photos look amazing. Meanwhile, here's Hachiman-Mae Station...

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This time the goal was to see the new maple-green Kirara, so the waiting game begun. Thanks to the frequency of the line, even on a Sunday, it didn't take long to see a service.

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The maple-orange Kirara then came northbound!

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The design of these vehicles is amazing and many awards have been won. I still haven't actually travelled at night, when the forests are lit during Autumn, because supposedly that's when the design really lends its hand to showing the passengers the beauty of the area. From the inside, you really get the idea of the view... the forest totally engulfs you.

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Whilst heading up the hill, the maple-green consist passed southbound. I must admit, I miss the maple-red. The green is quite intense... and yes, it perfectly matches maple leaves, so it's still in the grand scheme of the colouring, but...

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This was actually great timing. I'd chosen a location just south of Ninose Station and now I could approximate when this livery would pass.

Ninose Station

Yup, yup, yup... been here before... check over here for some beautiful photos in the snow. It's a station nestled in a valley with a small town right next to it. There's some beautiful galleries and cafes to enjoy, but there's also a fantastic viewpoint where the railway passes high over a river and roadway just south of the station.

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We arrived and had to wait for the southbound EMU to pass... after this, the precinct was beautifully vacant. There was the odd cicada, but the overwhelming sound was that of the water rushing south down the mountain.

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As I was waiting a random bunch of joggers were heading downhill. Did they take the train to the top first?

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From the station there are two relatively steep staircases at either end of the platform. Due to the dampness of the forest, they can be quite slippery, so do be careful.

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As you're descending, the view is fantastic.

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Actually, that logging is a bit of an eyesore... but I'm sure it'll grow back quickly. A short stroll down the road will get you to the rail bridge just south of the station.

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Finding a good angle was actually quite a challenge. I had my 18-200 "all-rounder" on, but the widest angle wasn't really wide enough... or maybe it's due to the slope of the road... or maybe I just always seem to take photos on an angle... just look at all my posts!

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The first EMU passed. It was easy to hear coming as there are quite a few curves prior to the bridge. There's also a signal which some of the following services stopped at. This one also hit its horn and seemingly came to a sharp stop, but it was out of view when it did so. Note that this is the EMU that we saw heading south from Hachiman-Mae Station above. We know that maple-green was following it southbound, so it should be next!

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There are only two stations to north past Ninose, so the maple-orange EMU I came on was the next service to pass southbound. After this had shot past, I checked out the area. Thanks to google, I knew I had around 20mins until the next pass, so I dawdled around and gandered at the gallery and tearooms just on the other side of the bridge. Much much too fancy for me, so I quickly retreated back into the shadows... no one wants to be out of position when a train is about to approach!

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Lots of overgrown old infrastructure mixed with beautiful houses. Everything is also so green!

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I seem to have been mistaken. I promised the maple-green service as the next northbound, but it turns out that there's more than one beige two-car EMU operating! Hah. Ok, it must be the next one?

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Nope, the next service was a monkey. No wonder the trains have been stopping and hitting their horns!

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Ah, OK, the green isn't such a bad match when it's buried in forest scenery. The driver had to pull right up to wait for the monkey to get out of the way. I wanted to catch this service southbound and had now seen all the liveries, so I proceeded back to the station. There is honestly something interesting to look at wherever you turn your head.

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After a bit of dawdling, maple-green arrived to take me back to Demachiyanagi.

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There was one more EMU to see on this line and I'd flukely timed it perfectly to meet it at the terminus.

Demachiyanagi Station

I'd seen drawings and then photos of this EMU, but had no idea what it really looked like. I was a little worried. Most reviewers had reported it to resemble the magic mirror from snow white, or just some other kind of ghastly portal to another universe. I think I have to agree with them... but then again, in reality it's a stunning design!

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It was timed to head up to Hiei right as I arrived, so I didn't get to check it out further.

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From here it was a quick trip to Katsura for the usual delights...

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