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Moving Train Ride : IYONADA MONOGATARI @ Ehime, JR Shikoku

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

Stunning ocean view and gorgeous cuisine. This unique train ride from JR Shikoku's "IYONADA MONOGATARI" (IYO Coast Story) has a lot to offer. Actually, it has much more than you might have thought.

Departing Matsuyama station, the three-cargo diesel train heads west. After passing through some local stations, it changes track to the minor railway that goes along the coastline. Soon, its wide windows facing north are filled by the blue sky and ocean. Lacquered tables reflect the view from the windows and also turn blue. While passengers are exclaiming in delight, the special lunch course starts.

Firstly, a glass of KAMPEI orange juice, the original variety of the region, is served.

The best way to start your visit to Ehime, the prefecture which produces the most oranges in Japan, is to indulge in its deep sweetness and heady aroma. Following a cute cup of potage soup, here comes a gorgeous lunch box. The box, supervised by a local French chef, is filled with seasonal local ingredients directly delivered from the Seto Inland Sea. To accompany it, locally brewed sake or wines exclusively selected by the chef are available. Eat, drink and enjoy the ocean view. The constant swaying of the train enhances your appetite.

In the midst of lunch, the train stops at a small station. Passengers are asked to get off, finding themselves in front of a stunning ocean view and surrounded by the rich scent of the sea breeze.

Lunch time continues afterwards with beef stew and handmade bread. Every dish is cooked and served at the same standard as a luxury restaurant. Coffee is served in a TOBE-yaki local pottery, indicating JR's effort to support local activities.

The train goes so slowly that a journey which normally lasts an hour takes three hours. This is an advantage because it ensures us to fully enjoy the lunch and ocean view. And this is not all on this trip.

During the whole itinerary, passengers are almost glued to the windows. Why? This train is welcomed by hundreds of local residents who are waiting along the railways and cheerfully waving. On platforms, at streets, in their cars, from their gardens. Some raise big handmade signs of "WELCOME." Even young baseball players interrupt their games in order to wave. Passengers are so moved to know how warmly they are welcomed by the region and are naturally encouraged to wave back. Eat, drink and feel welcome . No wonder they feel the three-hour ride is too short.

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