MATSUYAMA -- Trains on the JR Yodo Line in the western Japan island of Shikoku wrapped in images of Japanese superhero Ultraman and other characters will roll into Uwajima Station in the Ehime Prefecture city of Uwajima on Oct. 9 and 10, Shikoku Railway Co. (JR Shikoku) announced on Sept. 14.
The assembly of trains is the main feature of the Yodosen Fun Fun festival to be held over two days on the Yodo Line, which connects Ehime and Kochi prefectures. It will be possible to see all six wrapped trains on platforms No. 2 and 3 at Uwajima Station for about 30 minutes from 9 a.m. on Oct. 9. A representative at JR Shikoku commented, "It will be the first time in Shikoku for so many wrapped trains to be brought together, and rare even on a nationwide scale."
During the two days, only wrapped trains will run on the Yodo Line in principle. The six train cars are the Shiman Torocco train; the Kaiyodo Hobby Train series' Kappa Uyo-uyo ("numerous water imps") train; the Tetsudo Hobby Train; the Oni ("ogre") train; the Kaiyodo Hobby Train series' Ultra Train; and the Nanyo Character train series' Osanpo Nanyo ("stroll in the southern Ehime Prefecture region of Nanyo") train featuring image characters of the prefecture.
One or more wrapped trains, depending on time, will be visible at the station between 9 a.m. and noon on both Oct. 9 and 10.
On both days, markets will be opened at Uwajima Station and Matsumaru Station in the Ehime Prefecture town of Matsuno, selling local specialties, and a mobile petting zoo as well as food and craft stalls will be set up at the plaza of the Shimanto Municipal Government office in Kochi Prefecture, next to Kubokawa Station, on Oct. 9. Special travel packages are also on sale, including rides on the Oni and Kappa Uyo-uyo trains in which participants can enjoy "gibier," or wild game cuisine using the meat of local pheasants and deer, while making a round trip between Uwajima and Matsumaru stations for 6,500 yen (about $60) per person.
As the number of passengers on the Yodo Line has decreased, business conditions are harsh. JR Shikoku hopes it can promote the train line among local residents and train enthusiasts through this event.
A representative at the company eagerly said, "If this event is received well, we'd like to continue it in the future."
Information about the Yodosen Fun Fun festival is available on JR Shikoku's website at: https://www.jr-shikoku.co.jp/yodo_line/ (in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Hiroyuki Yamanaka, Matsuyama Bureau)