Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 58 (Scenery)

New Japanese Railway Scenery 18
Nankai Main Line

Nankai Electric Railway’s 64.2-km Nankai main line runs through central Osaka to Wakayama in western Japan. The line was opened at one end in 1885 by Hankai Electric Railway and by Nankai Railway at the other end. The two companies merged in 1895 to become Nankai. The company faced severe competition with Hanwa Electric Railway’s Hanwa Line (opened in 1930), but the latter became part of Nankai in 1940 led by wartime government policy. In 1944, the government nationalized the Hanwa Line, while the Nankai was merged with other private railways forming Kinki Nihon Railways. The merger was dissolved in 1947 when the former Nankai Railway separated from Kinki to become today’s Nankai Electric Railway. The Nankai main line connects to the Nankai Airport Line, serving an important access role to Kansai International Airport.

Kishiwada Danjiri

The danjiri matsuri (float festival) is held in Kishiwada, Osaka, during September and October. It is said to originate from a festival held by the feudal lord of Kishiwada to pray for a good harvest. Each neighbourhood holds its festival lasting 2 days. On the first day, 4-tonne danjiri belonging to each neighbourhood parade through the city. On the second day, groups of men parade their danjiri and take them to a neighbourhood shrine. The second day is considered a highlight of the festival before the danjiri are stored for another year.

Photo: Series 8000 rolling stock on Nankai main line (Nankai Electric Railway)
4-tonne danjiri parading through city (Kishiwada City)