Thursday, May 11, 2017

Chugoku Sanyo, San-in 中国地方山陽、山陰 - Shimonoseki JR Station 下関駅

Shimonoseki JR Station (下関駅) is located on the Sanyo main line, in Shimonoseki city, the westernmost city on Honshu island. There are no limited express trains serving this train station especially when the nearest Shinkansen train station is at Shin-Shimonoseki JR Station (新下関駅), which is just two stops away from here. This is also the last train station on the Sanyo main line before the railway line crosses Kanmon Straits 関門海峡 and continues in Kyushu. Shin-Shimonoseki JR Station is on the Sanyo Shinkansen line but only served by the slower speed bullet trains such as Sakura さくら and Kodama こだま.

Latest themed sightseeing train! Previously a sightseeing themed train named Misuzu Shiosai みすゞ潮彩 operated on weekends and public holidays between Shin-Shimonoseki and Senzaki. During my last trip to Chugoku, I contemplated visiting Senzaki just because I wanted to ride on this train. Did not manage to do so eventually due to time constraint and made a mental note that I would cover this scenic route, which runs alongside the Sea of Japan, in the near future to come. While writing this blog entry, I realised that Misuzu Shiosai has ceased operation in January 2017 (after in operation for close to a decade). Not to fret as JR West has replaced Misuzu Shiosai with Marumaru no Hanashi ○○のはなし in August 2017. Operated on weekends and public holidays as well, this two carriage sightseeing train commutes between Shimonoseki and Hagi and makes one round trip per day. Wrapped with a much extravagant and elegant wallpaper, the two train carriages have completely different interior design - Car 1 is Japanese style where passengers can sit comfortably on tatami laid seats while Car 2 is Western style where all the seats are oriented to face the side where a panoramic view of Sea of Japan can be seen during the train journey. The word "ha-na-shi はなし", used in the name of the train, actually means tale/story in Japanese. Each of the three character actually comes from the name of the cities which the train passes by - "ha" from Hagi city, "na" from Nagato city and "shi" from Shimonoseki city.

Marumaru no Hanashi ○○のはなし:
Fare = 520 yen; train fare is included in nationwide JR Pass and JR West Pass.

Did not manage to ride Misuzu Shiosai before it ceased operation in January 2017. Picture taken from JR West pamphlet. 

What's nearby?

(1) Tourist Information Center 下関駅観光案内所, located within the train station. 

(2) Shimonoseki Station Bus Terminal 下関駅バスタミナル, just outside the East Exit of train station.

- For Kamon Wharf カモンワーフ and Karato Market 唐戸市場, take the bus from Bus Stop 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 and alight at Karato 唐戸. 7 minutes by bus; fare = 220 yen.
- For Akama Shrine 赤間神宮, take the bus from Bus Stop 1 and 2 and alight at Akama Jinja mae 赤間神宮前. 9 minutes by bus; fare = 230 yen.

At Karato Bus Stop, where Shimonoseki Nabecho Post Office (in the centre) and Former Akita Co. Ltd Building (on the right) are in the vicinity.
- For Mine JR Station 美祢駅 and Akiyoshido 秋芳洞, take Bus 21 and 121 from Bus Stop 2.
- For Nagato Yumoto Onsen 長門湯本温泉 and Senzaki 仙崎, take Bus 127 (Shimonoseki ~ Tawarayama, Nagato, Senzaki line 下関~俵山・長門・仙崎線) from Bus Stop 2.

Bus schedule (departing from Shimonoseki Station Bus Terminal):

(3) Daimaru departmental store 大丸下関, less than a minute walk away from train station.
In my previous blog entry on Tottori JR Station, I have mentioned that there are two Daimaru departmental stores in Chugoku region. Similarly, the branch in Shimonoseki city is located a stone throw away from the main train station.
Operating hours: 1000 - 1930 hrs


Commemorative stamps:

* From tourist information center

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