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It's rare to get such a good view of this line.  In this case it's possible due to the modified 485 series NO.DO.KA joyful train used for this "Sakata Kandara Festival" service.  The train is classified as a rapid, so there's no express surcharge, although all seats are reserved. The 3-car formation has 96 seats.


I've been trying to fill in some background on this; the cities of Sakata and Tsuruoka, both in Yamagata Prefecture, have this festival (28th and 27th times, respectively) for kandara, which I believe is cod caught in cold water.  A soup is made with it, which does not appear to be cold :).  This service conveys people from Niigata, which is the regional big city.


One of my goals for any meaningfully long trip to Japan is to travel as much of the Sea of Japan coast as possible.  I've only covered Tsuruga to Hagi so far, leaving quite a bit to do :grin.


video by tejy Train:



And here at Shibata Station, we can see tejy Train making the video.  :) :).  Video by Igarashi Satoshi.


JR East Niigata Branch publication on service (pdf format): http://www.jrniigata.co.jp/20141128kandara.pdf

page for festival: http://www.sakata-kankou.com/event/102

Uetsu Main LIne: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uetsu_Main_Line

Sakata Station: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakata_Station_%28Yamagata%29

lastly, cod ('tara' in Japanese): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gadidae

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I'd do the trip in summer, the shoreline waters in Yamagata and southern Akita are a beautiful sea-green color along the sand beaches lined with pines.  Winter is grey and gloomy, with the horizon not apparent.  I would know, I live on that side of Japan.

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