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  3. Photo Spots along the JR Iiyama Line

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The reason why Mr. Matumura continues to take pictures of scenery in Iiyama.

Many of photographer Eizo Matsumura's works focus on travel. Uten・Enten (Rainy Weather-Hot Weather) depicts scenes from visits to Greece and Turkey with novelist Haruki Murakami, while Henkyo・Kinkyo (Frontier・Heartland), draws from travels both within Japan and abroad. Kita e kyoshu ressha no tabi (Nostalgic train trip to the north) focuses on popular railroads in the Tohoku and Hokkaido regions, presenting photos and essays that touch the heart of Japanese travelers. 

Recently, Mr. Matsumura has become known for his magazine columns, which have frequently included Iiyama locations. However, his first introduction to Iiyama came in 2001-2002, as a participant in the locally-filmed movie "Amidado-Dayori."This experience persuaded Matsumura to return to Iiyama as a site for seasonal landscape photography. Among his many photos of Iiyama through the four seasons, Matsumura's columns often include pictures and descriptions of the JR Iiyama line. We were lucky enough to get some of his expertise on great photo spots.

Eizo Matsumura

1953 Born in Fuchu City, Tokyo.
1976 Graduated from Tokyo College of Photography (Currently Tokyo Polytechnic University) 
1977 Studied under Yutaka Takanashi. 
2001 Worked as a still photographer for “Amidado-Dayori,” a film directed by Takashi Koizumi. 
Current member of JASHP (The Japan Society for Arts and History of Photography)
Works: Uten・Enten, Henkyokinkyo・Photographs (Shinchosha Publishing Co., written by Haruki Murakami)
Natural food Japanese Want to Eat (Shinchosha Publishing Co., written by Chieko Mikaigasa)

Column "Iiyama Line"

I first traveled to Iiyama after becoming involved with the film "Amidado-Dayori." I was awed by the breathtakingly magnificent landscapes in the area during the turn of the seasons. The photography for the movie was all completed by winter, when every boundary line disappeared into a world of bright snowy white. After returning to my life in Tokyo, fragments of Iiyama scenery began to appear in my dreams, and lingered in my memory after waking.

At that point, feeling an urge to ride the local trains running through Iiyama, I set out on a trip. For the hundred kilometers between Nagano and the Echigo river mouth, the Chikuma River flowed leisurely on the right side of the tracks. After crossing through the heavy-snowfall area of northern Nagano, the river's name changed, becoming the Shinano River as it ran to the left of the train. Heading towards the last station, the train passed through fields of cultivated Uonuma rice.
Traveling alongside one of Japan's largest rivers, old-fashioned station buildings and plazas appeared, and warmhearted smiles were freely returned. Looking at the river surface drawing near the train window, I began to recall long-lost memories, one after the other. As I was rocked by the train, I began to feel that my life was not so different from the gentle flowing of the river.

text by Eizo Matsumura

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