At Kishi Station in Kinokawa City, Wakayama, Japan I had the opportunity to interview a cat named “Tama 2nd Station Master”, who is more casually known as Nitama (Ni means two). The Wakayama Electric Railway Kishigawa Line travels from Wakayama Station in Wakayama City to Kishi Station, on a 14.3 km, 30 minute train service.
It features an Omocha (toy), an Ichigo (strawberry), a Tama (cat) train and an Umeboshi (pickled plum) train will also debut in Spring 2016. Commonly used in food and drink, Ume (Prunes Mume) is usually closely related to a plum, but westerners may believe it is closer to an apricot. It is an extremely popular sour fruit grown in Wakayama that is smaller than a golf ball and are greenish-yellowish in color yet it become purplish when pickled. It is so sour that it is often consumed with rice or in the form of Umeshu (traditional Japanese liqueur). I myself enjoy the variety of ume chips that can also be found in most convenience stores.
Grab a few bags of Ume flavored chips and buy a Wakayama Electric Railway One-Day Passport. This pass will allow you to possibly board all the aforementioned trains and gives you the opportunity to “check out” some of the fascinating stops. There are many shrines along the way, but a great one is a foot shrine. Got foot issues? Pray for your feet there. Check the English link below and plan a few stops and you may even “luck up” on one of the 80 annual events that are held on this train line.
By the way, yes, I did say the Kishigawa Train Line will have 4 varieties of trains. Pay attention to the well designed in the interior and exterior when riding on these trains. Seems like you can ride these trains multiple times and still find something you missed even though gazing at everything while riding. If you have kids with you, then they will enjoy skimming the many cat books in the cat library located on the Tama train.
Or check out the glass case of memorable toys or go to the “Gachagacha” toy vending machines for both kids and adults on the Omocha train and take a surprise toy home. No need to be shy and get a quick inexpensive souvenir you won’t regret.
The strawberry picking farms are located at the last station. Come pick and enjoy the sweet juicy strawberries which is one of Kishigawa’s most popular fruits. The Ichigo train has nicely designed wood benches and counters with its upholstery covered in strawberries. What else would you expect?
Well it was a suprise to me! As the trains arrive or when they leave Kishi Station “Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles is subtlely played over the speaker. For those who wat to pick strawberries the best timing for this delicious fun filled activity is from February to the middle of May.