The Toden densha line in Kochi is an essential part of the life of the city and runs from Gomen to the east all the way to Ino in the west. The Tosadentetsu company was established in the Taisho period. At first, the company only ran trolleys, but have since expanded to became the one of the companies that represents the whole prefecture.
There are thirteen different types of densha cars running through the heart of Kochi City, and three of them are from foreign countries. The “198” series cars are from Norway, the “320” series are from Austria, and the “910” series are from Portugal. Among other trolleys, the 600, 700 and 800 series are the most popular. So if you come to Kochi, you may get familiar with these series.
In many parts of Japan, the old electric trolley lines have long since disappeared. Train enthusiasts from all over the world make a special pilgrimage to see the old cars. And it’s a common site to see densha otaku from other prefectures setting up in odd locations along the tracks to take dramatic shots of rarer densha cars rushing by. The rarest densha is the 100 year-old wooden trolley car, the so-called “ching-ching densha” that is brought out only for special occasions.
The Toden densha a cultural treasure of Kochi, but it is not a relic of the past. What I hoped to capture in these photographs is the deep connection between the densha the people of Kochi.
— by K. Fukashima