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Wakasa Railway – May, 2019

I'd made it overnight from Tokyo to Izumoshi with the intent on getting to Wakasa Railway from the northern side of Honshu. After transferring at Tottori I travelled south through to Koge Station which happens to be the location of the branch to Wakasa. The Wakasa Railway runs services through from Tottori Station, but chose to take the Super Hakuto instead.


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To ride the Wakasa Railway, I purchased a ticket from the kind ladies behind the information desk inside the Koge Station waiting room. It doesn't quite look like a ticket counter, but rest-assured they have everything you need! After purchasing, I re-entered the Koge Station platforms on my new ticket (rail pass is no good here!) and found that a DMU, named Sakura #4, had arrived and was ready to take me two stops through to Hayabusa.



I don't know who the character is on the side!


When booking this trip, I'd initially intended to stay in Tottori. I was going to follow the usual rule of staying in a bigger town; better options to eat/shop/sleep, etc. It turned out that Tottori hotel prices, for that specific weekend, were exorbitant! I still haven't worked out why... but I imagine there was a festival of some sort on. In the end it turned out to be a blessing in disguise! A little further searching let me stumble across BASE 8823 Hayabusa.

This guest house is built to support motorcyclists touring the area. It turns out that, due to the name of the town, many Suzuki Hayabusa owners frequent the area for the winding mountain roads. All I can say is: the place is absolutely beautiful! The hosts are awesome (both motorcycle enthusiasts themselves) and will look after anything you require. Dinner was a slight issue, as everything was shut by the time I was ready to eat... but there was a Lawson convenience store a short bicycle (free rental from the guest house!) ride away. And riding through the ride fields at dusk on a summer night in the middle-of-nowhere was simply perfect!


As you can see, the guest house itself is a converted farm house. The owners have fitted it out beautifully into dorm-style accommodation. Breakfast was even provided, Japanese-style, and it was delicious! But that's enough about the lodgings... highly recommended!


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Before I even checked into the accommodation, I'd spent a little time wandering around Hayabusa Station. The next northbound service of the Wakasa Railway was to come through shortly and it turned out to be the DMU with a full Hayabusa motorbike livery... it was really quite stunning! There's also a stuffed-and-mounted electric freight locomotive and passenger car in the vicinity.


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I then walked to the accomodation, checked in and borrowed a bike to ride back to the station. The sun was already fading, but it'd be worth the trip to see the pink stuffed-and-mounted steam locomotive at the end of the line.


The Hayabusa DMU came back through Koge-bound before my service was to head up into the mountains.

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That last picture is actually a note on the side of the electric locomotive where the numberplate should be. Someone has stolen it and they're asking for assistance! What a bunch of assholes...I wonder if it was a baka tourist.


Hayabusa Station has another guestbook like that back at Nishi-Oyama. I didn't leave a note this time...


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There's also a cool amount of paraphernalia in the station house itself. They're very aware of Suzuki and the Hayabusa Motorcycle! I wonder if there's actually a real connection to the name; did the designer come to this area of the world and decide to name the bike after it? Or is there a further meaning to the word 'Hayabusa'? Sounds like fast-something. Update: Turns out Hayabusa is the Japanese word for Peregrine Falcon, something I just found out thanks to hearing about Hayabusa2's landing on an asteroid!

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Before long, my Wakasa-bound service arrived.

Wakasa Station

The goal was to ride the Wakasa Railway and also see the famous 'pink' C11 steam engine that was up in the station yard. As I was checking in to the accommodation above, I was actually informed that they had re-painted it to original black around 3 days earlier! Hah, what timing.


My Hayabusa DMU dropped me off and then the staff changed over so the maintenance crew could take it to the shed.. it had done it's job for the day! Without a tripod, I then tried to line up some night photography of the yard. There was nothing easy about finding a good angle and then a good resting position for a steady camera. Luckily it was a warm night and my hands were steady!


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Wakasa Town

There was time before the return service and, although the railway staff had already offered to drive me back to the accommodation (talk about Japanese hospitality!, the accommodation was a 20 minute drive away), I was happy to wander around and check the place out further.


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The dolls were slightly creepy, but supposedly a 'thing' for the area. Otherwise, everyone was watching TV or having dinner. I skulked around town, trying to get nice angles and be as inconspicuous as possible. The water coming off the mountain was running down all the open street drains and gave the town a beautiful background soundtrack.

Back at the station I finally found the pink SL! You could even pay to drive this one!


The railway also has a few more DMUs that have been lovingly restored and customised. When returned to the accommodation, I was told this maroon version had beautiful wooden floors. Too bad I couldn't check it out.

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My DMU arrived from Koge for it's final return shuttle. I purchased a normal ticket, but the station staff (the same employee who offered me the lift home) gave me the 'vintage' version!

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I just had to add in that last picture... the dolls are everywhere!

Early-morning departure

After a delicious breakfast at the guest house, I wandered off for the station. The weather and scenery was beautiful!



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Yes! The maroon DMU with the wooden floors! It was very nicely outfitted. From here it was back to Koge to transfer south through to Tsuyama... with a stop along the Chizu Railway first.

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