Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
A Luxurious Kyoto Ocean Trip On The Tango Kuromatsu
Written by Anna Namikawa
The "Kyoto seaside" is still little-known to visitors from overseas. The northern Kyoto area by the sea offers yet another beautiful aspect of Kyoto, other than the traditional temples and shrines. In this article we will be introducing a relaxing train t
Did you know that there is a sea in Kyoto?
After you have enjoyed visiting the temples and shrines of Kyoto, how about heading towards northern Kyoto to see the ocean? It might give you an entirely new perspective to Kyoto.
Today we'll be introducing a special train that runs in the area of northern Kyoto.
The Kyoto Tango Railway
The Kyoto Tango Railway is a railway operated by Willer Trains and is often called Tantetsu. The Tantetsu runs a sightseeing train in addition to its normal daily services.
Photo courtesy of Willer Trains
In the photo, from the left is the Tango Aomatsu (no reservation necessary), the restaurant train Tango Kuromatsu (reservation necessary, assigned seats), and the Akamatsu (reservation necessary, unassigned seats). The Tango Akamatsu and Tango Aomatsu run every day but the Tango Kuromatsu runs only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
Today we'll be introducing the luxurious Tango Kuromatsu.
Restaurant Train Tango Kuromatsu
The concept of Tango Kuromatsu is "food experience", meaning experience the surroundings and the people through gastronomic experiences. If you get a chance to ride the train, you will see the faces of the locals and soon learn that this experience is created together with them.
The Tango Kuromatsu connects Amanohashidate station and Nishi-Maizuru station and currently offers three different courses. This time we tried the Lunch Course and the Local Sake Course.
Lunch Course: Manpuku (9,500 Yen Per Person)
The lunch course train departs from Nishi-Maizuru station. This course allows you to enjoy a delicious and flavorful bentō made from local ingredients, served to you as the glorious views of northern Kyoto pass in front of your eyes.
The bentō features original Maizuru ingredients along with a chirashizushi, a dish featuring various sushi ingredients placed on top of flattened vinegar rice. Additionally Manganji Tōgarashi peppers and nikujaga are featured in this versatile lunch box. It is also said that nikujaga, hearty dish loved nationwide, has its roots in Maizuru.
They all look delicious. Where shall we start?
The view outside the window complements the food.
Our favorite view is the one crossing the Yuragawa river. The train crosses the bridge slowly enough to take in the views and take a sufficient amount of photographs.
Next to the driver's seat is a seat for children. We sat here a little and felt as if we were kids again.
After enjoying the meal and view, we got off at a stopover. After walking for about two minutes, there was a fair held by the locals as well as a ship museum. In the back of the building you can also enjoy a rare ashiyu that includes seawater.
The foot bath feels just warm enough and with full stomachs, we started to get dozy.
We returned to the train, and after some chatting we arrived at Amanohashidate station, the last stop.
If you ride the Lunch Course you will receive a coupon for an Amanohashidate specialty, Chie no Mochi, or the "mochi of wisdom". With the coupon in hand we headed toward Amanohashidate. It's a little hard to see in the photo, but there are four tea shops on the right where you can enjoy mochi of wisdom. It might be fun to compare the tastes as well.
The delicacy has been on the menus since the mid 17th century. True to its name, it is said that eating it will make you wiser. Right by the tea shops are the temples of Chionji and Monjudō. It is said that this place is the home for the Japanese saying "sannin yoreba monju no chie" which translates as "three people together produces the wisdom of Monju, the god of wisdom." This is the equivalent of the English saying "two heads are better than one".
Next, we will introduce the local sake course.
Local Sake Course: Tashinami (6,500 Yen Per Person)
The local sake course train departs from Amanohashidate station. Tango is an area famous for Japanese sake. This course lets you enjoy to the fullest the best of the local brews.
First we will taste the sakekasu ice cream. The sakekasu ice cream that is made by a long-established ice cream shop of 70 years has a distinct taste of Japanese sake.
Getting off at a stopover, we head toward a brewery. After listening to a presentation about Japanese sake, it's time for tasting. Some of the rarer sakes were also available for sampling.
After sampling the brews we returned to the train.
A bentō using local ingredients and six types of sake were brought to us. The bentō is divided into nine parts, each with a different dish. The drinks have been selected by a Japanese sake sommelier, making sure that all foods have a perfectly matched sake.
Visit To Feel The Local Power
The northern part of Kyoto is actually a region with a decreasing population. However, riding the Kuromatsu we were able to feel the power and the positive attitudes of the locals. Experiences such as interacting with the locals while enjoying the natural ingredients of the dishes and sake are one of those things that you can only enjoy if you visit the area yourself.
So, will Kyoto's seaside be part of your next vacation?
For tickets, click here (Japanese). You can reserve tickets three days before departure from the Internet and ticket booths.
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Kyoto Tango Railway Miyazu Station
Address: KyotoMiyazu-shi Tsuruga 2065-4
Wi-Fi: None in train (some stations offer Wi-Fi)
Credit Cards: Yes for reservations (cash only for in-train purchases)
Menus/Pamphlets In Other Languages: English menu in Kuromatsu
Nearest Station: KyotoTango Railway Miyazu Station
Price: 170 yen ~ (normal ticket)
Religious Considerations: -
Phone Number: +81-772-25-2323
Official Website: KyotoTango Railway (Japanese)