Winter Trip to Nikko Part 2: SL “Taiju”

SL 大樹 アイキャッチ画像


I traveled to Nikko (日光) for three days and two nights in the middle of February for the first time in five years. Visiting Nikko in winter would be a good choice, since there are less tourists compared to other seasons (summer and autumn) and visitors are able to enjoy snow scenery. In this article, I will write about SL “Taiju” as part of Day 1.

[Visit Places (series of articles)]
* Day 1: Nikko Station
* Day 1: SL Taiju [This article]
* Day 1: Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji
* Day 1-2: Nikko Station (Light-up) and Nikko Station Hotel Classic
* Day 2: Shinkyo Bridge and Nikkosan Rinno-Ji Temple
* Day 2: Nikko Toshogu Shrine
* Day 2: Futarasan-Jinja Shrine, Taiyuin Nikkosan Rinno-Ji Temple and Tamozawa Imperial Villa Memorial Park
* Day 2-3: Nikko Kanaya Hotel
* Day 3: Kosugi Hoan Museum of Art and Matsuyashiki

[Travel Date]

[Main Part]

Go to Shimo-imaichi Station

Following the previous post, I will leave Tobu Nikko station to watch SL “Taiju” at Shimo-imaichi station.Tobu Nikko station

I just found a limited express “Nikko Mode Spacia” was standing at Tobu Nikko station.Nikko Mode Spacia1

“Nikko Mode Spacia” is a specially painted train with gold, black and red color, which represents World Heritage’s shrines and temples in Nikko. “Nikko Mode Spacia” operates only a few times a day, so I was lucky to see it 🙂

I moved to Shimo-imaichi station with a local train.""

I went out the station.Shimo-imaichi station1

Shimo-imaichi station, which is the branching point of the Tobu Nikko Line and the Tobu Kinugawa Line, was opened in 1929. The station building was renovated to retro and wooden style in April 2017, in time with the opening of SL “Taiju”.Shimo-imaichi station2

I went into the station again.""

I found a new type express train “Revaty” was stopping as a deadhead train.Tobu Railway Revaty1

“Revaty” is a coined term consisting of “Variety” and “Liberty”.Tobu Railway Revaty2

This is the limited express “Spacia” bound for Kinugawa-Onsen station.Tobu Railway Spacia

“Nikko Mode Spacia”, which I had seen before at Tobu Nikko station, just reached Shimo-imaichi station now.Nikko Mode Spacia2

After the normal “Spacia” left, I took a photo of “Nikko Mode Spacia” again.Nikko Mode Spacia3

SL “Taiju”

Now I will move to watch SL “Taiju”. SL “Taiju” is a steam locomotive which Tobu Railway resotred in August 2017 after half a century. It runs between Shimo-imaichi station and Kinugawa-Onsen station (12.4 km) for 35 minutes and operating three times a day mainly on weekends. This time, I will watch the departure of “SL Taiju No. 3”, which departs from Shimo-imaichi station at 1 p.m.

With the introduction of SL “Taiju”, the SL exhibition hall and the turntable square were developed at Shimo-imaichi station.Shimo-imaichi station SL exhibition hall1

View from a connecting bridge. You can see a part of the SL Taiju’s train car.""

Pictures and diorama are exhibited in the SL exhibition hall (- admission is free).Shimo-imaichi station SL exhibition hall2

Visitors enjoyed view over the window.Shimo-imaichi station SL exhibition hall3

Here is a view from the window.Shimo-imaichi station turntable square1

Now let’s move to the turntable square.""

As for SL “Taiju”, a steam locomotive pulls the first car at the front while a diesel locomotive pushes the last car from the end.Shimo-imaichi station SL Taiju1

Zoom-up of the diesel locomotive.""

Looking at the garage, I found a steam locomotive (C11) was preparing for departure.Shimo-imaichi station SL Taiju2

After a while, the steam locomotive started to came out of the garage.Shimo-imaichi station SL Taiju turntable

Moved to the turntable.SL Taiju1

Went straight on the turntable.SL Taiju2

Lots of visitors took pictures of the steam locomotive.SL Taiju3

The steam locomotive was connected with the train car.""

SL “Taiju” entered into the platform.SL Taiju4

As you can see, the platform was crowded with lots of visitors.""

I moved to the adjoining platform.SL大樹5

SL “Taiju” departed on time.""

I saw off the train.""

Then, I returned to Tobu Nikko station to move to the next destination.


That’s it for the article about SL “Taiju” as part of Day 1 of my Nikko trip.

When I watched the steam locomotive, I found it was so powerful and impressive. This time, I did not ride on SL “Taiju” and just watched it due to my travel schedule. If I have another chance, I would like to take SL “Taiju” next time.

Talking of the steam locomotive, I took photos of Chichibu Railway’s steam locomotive in Nagatoro (Saitama Prefecture) two years ago. If you are interested in it, please see the following link.

“Autumn Colors in Nagatoro: Steam Locomotive and Tsukinoishi Momiji Park” (2015.11)

In addition, I like “Botchan train” in Matsuyama (Ehime Prefecture), though it is not a real steam locomotive.

“Matsuyama City: Tram, Botchan train and Mican” (2015.07)
“Dogo Onsen station, tram and Botchan train” (2016.01)

In the next article, I will write about Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji as part of Day 1.


1 Tobu Nikko Station
2 Shimo-imaichi station

[Related Link]
Nikko Kinugawa Travel Guide
Tobu Railway
SL “Taiju” (Tobu Japan Trip)

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