I have a confession to make: since coming to Japan I’ve developed a bit of an interest in trains. I’ve bought a few books about them, ridden quite a lot of them, taken photos of them, and over a two-month period I took video of the entire length of the Fukushima Kōtsū Iizaka Line.
The Iizaka Line is a relatively short 9.2 km train line that connects Fukushima station to the onsen resort town of Iizaka in the north. Due to the dense amount of stations and the large amount of crossings along the length of the line, the train doesn’t really go very fast for most of its run.
Actually, back when I used to go to a school in Iizaka I’d ride my bike instead of taking the train. Most of the length of the line runs parallel to Prefectural Route 3, so on the way home I’d sometimes wait for a train to depart from Iizaka to Fukushima then race it for the whole length of the line. Unless I happened to get really unfavorable red lights, I’d win the race more often than not.
The line became a little bit more known in the days following March’s earthquake for being one of the very first train lines in the area to resume service when it reopened two days after the quake. It’s not the most glamorous of trains, but it gets the job done. Here’s the entire line, from Fukushima Station to Iizaka Onsen Station. The actual train runs for 23 minutes, but I cut out time stopped at stations and got it down to 14 and a half minutes.