A taste of Japan

‘Tram or train that’s the question’

A train is a train and a tram a tram. The latter mostly runs in urban areas with the rail imbedded in the street surface but also on interurban lines with there own track. Pictures of the American rail history showing heavily built motorcars almost train look alike and in the middle of a busy street for certain a remarkable appearance. On the other hand there were and still are places where a real train passes a village on the same manner. Japan is no exception and the phenomena these days named ‘light rail’ can be discovered on many places.
I like to show a few around the Kyoto municipality or Kansai district with Osaka as the main city in the middle and Kobe as third concentration of buildings and bustling business. The trams of Osaka are still running on a single line to the outskirts with a branch to a different terminal in town in connection with the extended subway system.
Beside the national JR (Japanese Railways) numerous private companies connected town and neighbouring settlements all on their own alignment and type of cars and livery. A lust for any enthusiast but also giving trouble, it takes a while before you know what’s running where but above all how. There’re also a monorail and people movers, automatically driven vehicles on tires running on an elevated concrete structure without any rail except at some systems the one for guiding and let the question rise: do I like this as real fan?
Personally I say yes, after all it’s Public Transportation and the only thing that counts. In the Kansai district you can get lost in an overwhelming surplus of rail matters with the rest of the country at your feet. My advice; don’t try to see it all in one day, so much got lost already in a rush. You better can do one thing twice than all only ones in the knowledge I’ve done it but frankly spoken nothing seen. Up and down the same street again with a train that behaves like a tram or walking along the line and taking pictures. Whatever it will be, it’s worthwhile doing it.

Heavy rail structure but light stock

and a terminal with character

Imbedded in the surface, a train finds its way or is tram a more approperiate naming

A train behaves like a tram

The ulitmate street running

Street, train and blossom, spring in Japan and nothing to loose.

For a few pics of the Oska tram click here


About Robert von Hirschhorn

Author / Performer or in Dutch: schrijver / dichter
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