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Tsuwano, Shimane

From Academic Kids

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An attractive old street in Tsuwano

Tsuwano (津和野町; Tsuwano-cho) is a town located in Kanoashi District, Shimane prefecture, Japan. As of 2003, the town has an estimated population of 5,711 and a density of 40.84 persons per km². The total area is 139.85 km².

Tsuwano-cho (the -cho means 'town') is surrounded by hills in a rather remote location. Though it is geographically closer to Yamaguchi city which is the prefectural capital of Yamaguchi prefecture, it is part of Shimane prefecture, which has a long thin shape. It takes 3-4 hours to get to Matsue, the capital of Shimane prefecture, by train. Many tourists visit the town of Hagi on the Japan Sea coast and Yamaguchi city together with Tsuwano as they are all close to each other.

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Catholic Church at Tsuwano

The Catholic church in Tsuwano is probably an offshoot of the cathedral in Yamaguchi which is dedicated to the memory of Saint Francis Xavier who was a missionary in Japan 1549-50.

Famous people

The novelist Mori Ogai was born in Tsuwano, into a family of doctors. His birthhouse is preserved in the town. Mori travelled to Germany and studied medicine there. As a result Tsuwano is twinned with Berlin's central ward by an agreement signed on August 25, 1995.

SL Yamaguchi-go

A popular tourist destination, Tsuwano is served by the steam locomotive SL Yamaguchi-go which runs once daily on weekends and on national holidays (except in the winter) from Shin Shimonoseki (formerly Ogori) station to Tsuwano and back. It only stops for about three hours in Tsuwano before returning to Shin Shimonoseki station.

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The SL Yamaguchi-go

The 2003 movie "Spy Sorge" (director Masahiro Shinoda) about Richard Sorge includes a scene shot in the train for period effect. The train has carriages decorated in the styles of different eras: Meiji, Taisho, Showa and European. There is also an observation car at the back. The locomotive does not run entirely under its own steam, being helped along by a diesel engine.ja:津和野町

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