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Day 1 of Winter Travel in Nikko ~ SL “TAIJU,” Kegon Falls, and Lake Chuzenji

Writer : kosu- Page: 3/5 -

Visiting Tobu Railway’s SL “TAIJU”

SL “TAIJU” is an SL (Steam Locomotive) train that has been brought back into operation by Tobu Railway as of August 2017 for the first time in almost half a century. It runs a 12.4-kilometer length of track between Shimo-Imaichi Station and Kinugawa-Onsen Station, taking about 35 minutes per trip, and it runs 3 times a day on weekends and holidays. I decided to watch the departure of SL “TAIJU 3” from Shimo-Imaichi Station at 1:00pm.

※Please see official website for details on when SL “TAIJU” is in operation.

URL(Japanese)

There is an SL exhibition hall and turntable plaza set up at Shimo-Imaichi Station for the opening of SL “TAIJU.”

SL exhibition hall and turntable plaza
SL exhibition hall and turntable plaza
View from the overpass window
View from the overpass window

The SL exhibition hall features things like pictures and dioramas.

Tourists looking over the railway turntable plaza from the window
Tourists looking over the railway turntable plaza from the window
Looking over the railway turntable plaza
Looking over the railway turntable plaza

Next up I went to the railway turntable plaza.

The first car of SL “TAIJU” is a steam locomotive, while the caboose is a diesel-propelled car.

The passenger cars are a vivid blue
The passenger cars are a vivid blue
Close-up of the diesel locomotive
Close-up of the diesel locomotive

When I turned to look at the roundhouse, there was a C11-type SL preparing to depart.

Roundhouse
Roundhouse

There were lots of people around the SL taking pictures.

The steam locomotive is connected to the first car.
The steam locomotive is connected to the first car.

There were a lot of people gathered around the platform, both those who were boarding the SL “TAIJU 3” and those who weren’t.

Departing on time at 1:00pm
Departing on time at 1:00pm

There were also bento and other goods being sold at the station.
I just went to see the train this time, but some day I’d love to ride it if I get the chance.

Heading to Lake Chuzenji

I returned to Tobu Nikko Station from Shimo-Imaichi Station.

After getting back to Tobu Nikko Station, I headed over to the bus stop in front of JR Nikko Station.

JR Nikko Station
JR Nikko Station

To get to Lake Chuzenji, I took a bus from the station bound for Chuzenji-Onsen.
I was able to use the “Chuzenji Onsen Free Pass” that I bought earlier, and since just one round-trip would have cost the price of the pass, I highly recommend picking one up.

The bus ride took around 50 minutes.
On the way, the bus went up “Irohazaka,” a winding road known for having the most beautiful view of autumn leaves in all of Nikko.
I’d recommend visiting with plenty of time left in the autumn leaves viewing season.

Arriving at Chuzenji-Onsen Bus Terminal

Chuzenji-Onsen Bus Terminal
Chuzenji-Onsen Bus Terminal

The urban areas of Nikko weren’t as cold as I expected, and there wasn’t even much snow there, but since this next area was at a high altitude, the wind chill brought the temperature down and it was quite snowy.

Snowy landscape
Snowy landscape

The surrounding area is home to different sightseeing spots, like Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji, so the streets were lined with restaurants and souvenir shops.

Restaurants
Restaurants
Natural Museum
Natural Museum