Friday, October 16, 2009

How To Get To Kobe's Tetsujin 28-Go

While I may be too late to catch Gundam in action at Tokyo Bay, I thought Kobe's Tetsujin-28 Project would more than make up for it, since it's life-sized and almost as tall as Gundam, but because of its action-pose, it shaved off some 3 meters from the 18m it's supposed to stand. Built as a permanent (take that, Gundam!) monument to commemorate the reconstruction of Kobe's Nagata ward, and standing guard over the city's worst hit area during the disaster, I think it's an awesome sight, reassuring even, as far as mecha-lore goes.

While finding the actual Tetsujin Statue in Wakamatsu Park need not require rocket science, especially since there are simple directional signs in bright yellow deployed en route to the exact spot, I thought that having it spelled out here would benefit the English-speaking traveller. Surprisingly though there isn't much written on how to get there, so here's a guide, with pictures to boot:

Pic1: Shin Nagata Station Train Platform

The JR rail system is fairly easy to navigate and plenty of literature out there to familiarize before you hit the ground running. Even if you slack in your homework, there are JR staff abound at the stations, platforms and train to guide lost commuters, and you may also find an English conversant staff especially at the larger stations. In any case, the station closest to Tetsujin is the JR Shin-Nagata station in Kobe city. This may not apply to you, but my route of travel (to ride alongside the Kobe bay, don't ask why) involved the Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Nishi-Akashi station, before transferring to the JR Kobe line from Nishi-Akashi to Shin-Nagata. If you're taking the same route, you'll chance upon Gigantor moments before you arrive at the Shin-Nagata station.

Pic2: Shin Nagata Staion

Pic2: Exit the Shin-Nagata station. There are only 2 platforms and 1 set of gantries to exit from. Head straight toward the gantry and out.

Pic3: Shin Nagata Station Exit

Pic3: Walk to the staircase/escalators and head down to the underpass.

Pic4: Shin Nagata Exit

Pic5: Poster

Pic4/5: Walk straight and make a left turn. You'll probably see the same posters if they're not taken down. The Tetsujin directional signs are in Yellow.

Pic6: Underpass Exit

Pic7a: Shin Nagata Staion Foyer

Pic6: Walk to the end of the underpass and you'll emerge in a foyer (Pic7a). Today there was some market bazaar set up, otherwise the faster way is to cut across the foyer as indicated. You'll see a large Daimaru department store building on the road opposite. Skip to Pic8 if you intend to cut across the foyer, otherwise...

Alternative route (which I took)
Pic7b1: Side of Shin Nagata Station

Pic7b1: Continue along the side of the Shin-Nagata station

Pic7b2: Daimaru

Pic7b2: Cross the road to the Daimaru building and make a left turn. I suspect you could actually get to Tetsujin by walking through the department store, so those who have tried that and are successful, leave a comment to confirm!

Pic7b3: Across The Road

Pic7b4: Across The Road

Pic 7b3/7b4: Keep walking straight. There are some construction works going on at the moment, so be careful!

Pic8: Entry Arch

Pic9: Entry Arch Up Close

Pic8: From Pic6 once you cut across the foyer, or from Pic7b if you've already crossed the road, you'll see a huge arch (Pic 9). Pass through that arc and keep walking straight.

Pic10: Path

Pic11: Path

Pic10/11: Can you smell the anticipation?

Pic12: Street Lamps

Pic12: The Tetsujin-designed robot head streetlamps will light your way to Nirvana...

Pic13: Can You See It?

Pic13: Success!

Pic13: Tetsujin!

Here's the simplified schematic diagram on the route taken / that can be taken:
Schematic Map

Have fun!

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