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Iyonada Monogatari Tourism Train

The Iyonada Monogatari is a luxury tourism train taking you on a stylish journey through the coastal and mountain region of western Shikoku known as Iyonada.

Iyonada Monogatari Tourism Train

The Iyonada Monogatari is a sightseeing train, a luxury travel genre that’s currently enjoying something of a boom in Japan. This classic train, fitted out in ‘retro-modern’ style at considerable expense, takes you on a stylish journey through the coastal and mountain region of western Shikoku known as Iyonada. As you travel through this picturesque scenery, you can enjoy delicious meals prepared using the specialties of the region.

Iyonada, from which the train takes its name, is part of the Seto Inland Sea between Matsuyama and Yawatahama, and the Iyonada Monogatari runs between these towns, on an old section of track beside the sea. Matsuyama is the largest city in Shikoku. It’s a compact city of culture, renowned for its castle and Dogo Onsen, which is the oldest hot spring in Japan. The city produced several generations of haiku poets. Yawatahama has a completely different atmosphere. It feels much more rural, with the air of a slow-paced southern island. Here you can watch ospreys diving for fish in the river that runs through the town to the port. The train also stops at Ozu, a beautiful little town on a bend in the Hijikawa river, with an authentically restored castle and streets of buildings dating back to the Edo period.

Iyonada-Monogatari-hostess

From the windows of the train, you can see the modernistic sports complex in the southern suburbs of Matsuyama, the rice fields of the Dogo Plain bordered by remarkably steep, wooded mountains, sleepy towns with the chimneys of sake breweries, and vistas of the Inland Sea dotted with islands. The train stops at several stations on the way, and local people offer products for sale and gifts of fruit.

The meals served on the Iyonada Monogatari are prepared by the top chefs of the region. You can enjoy breakfast on the Matsuyama to Ozu run, a full lunch on the Ozu to Matsuyama leg, a light lunch between Matsuyama and Yawatahama, and afternoon tea on the sunset journey between Yawatahama and Matsuyama. There’s also a menu offering tea, coffee, local beer and sake, and original cocktails from the bar if you choose. It’s a great option for traveling part of your Shikoku journey in special style.

Iyonada-Monogatari-food-sushi

Since the train visits some wonderful towns and offers meals at convenient times, it makes sense to include it in your Shikoku itinerary.

The Iyonada Monogatari runs on weekends and national holidays. At other times, the whole train is available for charter at a very reasonable price. It has seating for fifty people, so if you’re planning a unique tour or event, this is an option worth considering.

Ozu-castle

The Shikoku Pilgrimage has habituated the people of Shikoku to visitors from afar, and the tradition of hospitality to pilgrims extends to passengers on the Iyonada Monogatari. Wherever the train passes near a human habitation, the residents can be seen giving a friendly wave to the train. Even children playing soccer will stop their game to wave. Be sure to wave back!

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