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HYOGO

Train company to monkey around with riders

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

Who says “monkey business” is bad for tourism? Not the Hojo Railway Company.

Two baby macaques, who act as honorary station masters at Hojomachi Station in the city of Kasai, Hyogo Prefecture, will guide passengers from that station to Ao Station in the city of Ono on June 9 and 23. The two animals will also be available for taking pictures with those on board.

Two trains are set to run each day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The first is set to leave Hojomachi Station at 10:42 a.m. to return at 11:32 a.m., with a scheduled stop at Ao Station. The second train will depart at 1:42 p.m. and will return at 2:32 p.m. The break between the two rides is there to let the monkeys take a nap.

Boarding the train costs ¥800, the price of a one-day pass. A Hojo Railways spokesperson says the baby monkeys will make more trips on the trains in the future.

The trains leave Hojomachi Station at 10:42 a.m. and 1:32 p.m. on June 9 and 23. For more information, visit www.hojorailway.jp/news/2013/2322 (in Japanese).