Ride the Oza-Toro-Tembo Train

Ride the Oza-Toro-Tembo Train

The Oza-Toro-Tembo Train is a limited-service sightseeing train which is operated during selected days of the peak tourist seasons. The train has three carriages - the oza carriage (which has a tatami-floor), the torokko (tram) carriage, and the tembo (observation deck) carriage.

Stretch out and relax in the tatami carriage with its sunken kotatsu (heated table) in autumn, take in Aizu's nature and air from the tram carriage, and revel in the fantastic scenery that await you through the expansive windows of the observation deck carriage.

The train runs along the Aizu Railway tracks, meaning you can hop off at various points to visit places such as Ouchi-juku (a 15 minute taxi ride from Yunokami Onsen Station), and To-no-Hetsuri Crags, among others. For information about when this train runs this year, please check out this link (Japanese).

Venue Details

Venue Details
Websitehttp://www.aizutetsudo.jp/trip/ozatoro/(Automated translation available)
Contact

Aizu Railway Co., Ltd. Sales Department, Sales Planning Group

(+81) 242-28-5886

eigyou@aizutetsudo.jp

Best Season
  • Autumn
Entrance FeeFrom Aizu-Wakamatsu (Nishi-Wakamatsu Station) to To-no-Hetsuri Station: 920 yen
Related infoPeak season: Mid-October to mid-November (season for autumn foliage)

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Kuimaru Elementary School is a historic Japanese school that was built during the Showa era of Japan, making it over 80 years old! In the 1980s, a modern elementary school was built nearby, leaving this old school house abandoned. Fortunately, this building was preserved and converted into a museum. It happens to be one of only a handful of old fashioned schools left standing in Japan! Here you can explore the old school grounds including a large ginkgo tree that is over 100 years old. A long standing symbol of the school. In Autumn (early to mid-November) the leaves turn a beautiful golden yellow, and when they fall, the school yard is carpeted in these golden leaves. The school building has undergone some light renovations, but the charm of this old building has been beautifully preserved. Inside the building you can wander through the halls and explore the classrooms, you can sit at the little wooden desks, page through some old textbooks and imagine what it would have been like to be a student here around 80 years ago! Fun fact: The school building was once used as a filming location for the 2013 movie Hameln (ハーメルン). After you explore the school if you are feeling a bit hungry, there is a café next door called “Soba Café SCHOLA” that serves 100% buckwheat noodles (soba noodles) as well as other dishes created with 100% buckwheat (soba) flour. These dishes are naturally gluten-free and delicious.

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Paint Your Own Akabeko

The akabeko legend started at Enzoji Temple in Yanaizu Town, in the Aizu region. The construction of this temple began in the year 807, but due to a huge earthquake at the end of the seventeenth century, repair work begun in 1617. It was during the reconstruction of the temple that the akabeko became a folk legend. It is said that moving the wood and other supplies necessary for the reconstruction work was incredibly difficult, because materials had to be transported from various villages upstream of Tadami River. The materials were heavy and the journey to the temple long. Cattle were used to transport materials, but many struggled to bear their loads. Then, out of nowhere, appeared a cow with a red coat. (It should be noted that, in the past, the word ‘red’ was used to describe the colour ‘brown’, so it is likely that it was a brown cow.) The red cow supported the other cows and helped the priests who were constructing the temple until it was completed. Then, it suddenly vanished. A number of statues of the cow were built inside the temple grounds so that the people of Yanaizu could express their gratitude to the akabeko. In the years following, there were a range of legends about the akabeko, with stories such as families who owned akabeko being rid of sickness upon stroking the cows. They continued to hold their status of bringers of good luck and strength. Families bought or made akabeko toys for their young children to play with. Akabeko Painting Experiences In recent history, the Aizu tradition of painting akabeko began. It is said that this tradition started as something to do for children visiting Aizu-Wakamatsu City as part of school trips. This was when the story of the Akabeko evolved once more, into its newest papier-mâché form. The stripes on the face and back of the papier-mâché Akabeko are said to represent strength and perseverance. There are a number of workshops in Aizu-Wakamatsu City where you can paint your own Akabeko. Most workshops offer the standard red, white, and black paint. These talismans for good health make very cute and light-weight souvenirs to take home for family and friends – or keep for yourself! Those who prefer to buy a ready-painted Akabeko will be able to find it at most souvenir shops.

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Tsukimigaoka Chomin Center (a town hall-turned-hotel which is only a 20-minute walk from Aizu Yanaizu Station) is known for their famous sauce katsudon lunch. This dish contains fried pork cutlet and a simple egg omelet on rice which is covered with a savory sauce that simply melts in your mouth. There are other places in Yanaizu that serve the katsudon dish as well, but according to local opinion, the katsudon at Yanaizu Chomin Center is hard to beat. Why not stop by and fill your stomach before taking in the other local sights? There are even some great shared hot spring baths, which can be enjoyed as day visit onsen. There are plenty of nearby attractions. Enjoy your time hiking or fishing or at the nearby Kiyoshi Saito Museum of Art or the beautiful and serene Enzoji Temple. Kiyoshi Saito Museum of Art houses works by esteemed woodblock artist Kiyoshi Saito and the beautiful works he created throughout his lifetime. At the Enzoji Temple experience tranquility and nature, also learn about the origin legend of the akabeko, the nodding red cow famous in the area. And only a 15-minute drive away you can look at the No. 1 Tadami River Bridge View Spot; this bridge offers a spectacular sight of the Tadami River and the surrounding nature.

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Yanaizu Town is best known as the birthplace of the legend of the lucky red cow Akabeko, but it is also known for its famous manju (sweet steamed buns). Hot in Yanaizu is a center with a bit of everything; it sells local products, has sightseeing information, rest areas, and an eatery. They even have an "experience area". It goes without saying that, at Hot in Yanaizu, you can paint your own Akabeko, but you can also make manju with the help of the facilities' kind staff (Read more here). Hot in Yanaizu have staff that can speak English, but please make sure to contact them in advance, as you might not be able to do the experience without placing a booking. Please take your time & enjoy the slow pace of Japanese countryside life in Yanaizu Town.

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