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Green Hills, Nou, Itoigawa – June, 2024

Whilst driving with friends from Osaka to Aizuwakamatsu, we needed a place to split the trip and I started Googling. Toyama was a logical mid-way point, but I didn't want us to have to slug it into a boring business hotel when we just needed a place to sleep. Instead, I wanted to enjoy the summer twilight, rail-side in a country house and I managed to find just the place!: Green Hills in Nou.

This beautiful house is perched directly next to the Nihonkai Hisui Line. This happens to be a private line; but it's also the main trunk up the northern coast of Japan and the fastest route for freight from Hokkaido when trying to get further west than Tokyo. So, whilst you won't see JR Limited express trains (thanks to the Hokuriku Shinkansen), you will see trains of the Echigo-Tokimeki Railway and a parade of freight trains hauled by EF510 locomotives.

So, above was taken from the left window that you can see in the first image above. It was the 'second bedroom' on the second floor of the house. It had a beautiful view of the railway! Despite the morning rain, I managed to get up in time for the first 'daylight' freight just after 4am. Disregard the tapping in the video as it's just a leak from the gutter above, beating on the first floor roof.

The trains thundered by like clockwork... and I really need to emphasise on the word 'thundered'. Due to there being a crossover right in front of the tunnel portal next to the house, the katan-katan of the wheelsets was loud enough to actually rattle the foundations of the house.

On the next trip to Japan, I'll probably book this place for a few days and set up a temporary live camera so everyone can enjoy the sights.

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