Japan Railway & Transport Review No.25 (Back cover)

Japanese Railway Scenery 18
JR Shikoku: Dosan Line

JR Shikoku's Series 2000 DMU Nampu (South Wind) limited express passing Dosan Line between Oboke and Koboke stations in Tokushima Prefecture, where fast-flowing River Yoshino crosses Shikoku mountains. Oboke literally means ‘long strides are dangerous,’ while Koboke means ‘short steps are dangerous.’ Until the modern road and railway were opened, travellers were forced to crawl on their hands and knees to negotiate the rocky cliffs along the river. The north end of the line was opened in 1889 as a private railway (nationalized in 1906), but due to the difficult topography, it was only completed in 1935. It suffered many serious landslides, and the countermeasures included a major rerouting in the 1960s. For many years, it was the most important link between southern Shikoku and Honshu, but it is now severely challenged by air transport and the newly opened expressway.
(Photo: M. Mashima Photo Office)