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by Bob Kerstetter
We sit and watch the water and rails—enjoying the cherry blossoms—when a Japanese photographer informs us about the Shinkansen running on the local tracks to and from Yamagata Station.
Thinking he was mistaken—or more likely we misunderstood because of our limited language skills—we question him. Yes, he was confident! The Shinkansen bullet train is almost here, sailing on local tracks, not its normal high speed rails.
He suggests we stay at our current position for several more minutes until the train passes by. We sit inside Ka-jo Castle Park looking down on the moat of the partially restored castle.
While Japanese Shinkansen normally run on special rails, some travel on local tracks. This allows the bullet trains to pick up and drop off passengers in smaller cities.
Below is a local train running on the same tracks as the Shinkansen, shot from more or less the same position.
We capture these photos of the Shinkansen and local train during sakura season, cherry blossom days in Yamagata City.
Yamagata City sits north of Tōkyō in the mountains of the Tōhoku region in East Japan. Beautiful with bright colors in Spring, Summer and Fall, Yamagata receives a deep white covering of snow for Winter.