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【Akita & Aomori】The Gono Line, the train for the great scenery2015.09.30

150930★ 五能線

Japan has many local railroad lines in which people can view scenic vistas from a train window. A stellar viewing experience can be found by riding the “Gono line,” located in the northern coastal region of Honshu. The “Gono line,” started in 1908, and operated to provide a local transit option, runs between the cities of “Akita and Aomori,” a distance of 147.2 km, and has 43 stations. The line is always crowded and offers an unparalleled view of Sea of Japan’s romantic sunsets, coastline, inlets and scenic waves.

However, a seasonal train “Resort Shirakami,” started in 1997, has reserved seats, runs three times daily in July, August and September, and the remainder of the year on weekends or holidays. The “Resort Shirakami” train is very popular, so reserve your seat early. This is the key train for visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the “Shirakami Mountains.” Known as the “Shirakami-Sanchi World Heritage Property,” the site is a wilderness area covering one third of “Shirakami mountain” range with the largest remaining virgin Beech forest in East Asia. You can disembark the train at “Ajigasawa,” station to enjoy hiking through the virgin forest, and beach. The stop offers a dynamic and fantastic view of the beautiful mountains and lakes.

Another benefit of the “Gono line” experience is listening to the local story teller speak “Tsugaru,” the divergent, hyper-fast northern dialect or listening to Japan’s version of improvised jazz played on the three string “Tsugaru Shamisen,” musical instrument.

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