Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 52 (Back cover)

New Japanese Railway Scenery 12

East Rikuu Line

The 94.1-km East Rikuu Line (Rikuu Tosen) connects 27 stations from Kogota Station in Miyagi Prefecture to Shinjo Station in Yamagata Prefecture. There are many old historic shrines and temples along the track, which opened in 1913 as the Rikuu Line and gained its present name in 1917 after a few intermediate changes. The many trackside hot springs have lead to its Japanese nickname of Oku no Hosomichi Yukemuri Line that translates as ‘steamy narrow road to the deep north.’
Photo: Two-car DMU on East Rikuu Line (JR East)


Kokeshi wooden dolls are children’s toys made since the Edo period (1603–1867) and feature a large head and simple body with no arms or legs. They are classified into various regional styles each with its own design. Naruko kokeshi is a type of kokeshi made in the Naruko region along the East Rikuu Line. It is distinguished by a creaking sound it makes when the head is turned, broad shoulders, and thick torso.
Photo: Naruko kokeshi (Naruko Spa Tourist Association)