48. From Seoul via Kaijou, Koushuu (Kenjiho), Heijou (Chin-nampou) to Shingishuu (Antung).
309 M. Several trains daily (from Nandaimon Station) in about 10-12 hrs. The tendency is to increase the speed and reduce the time. Fare, 1st cl., Y15.45; 2d cl., Y10.82; 3d cl., Y6.18, with an added 15 sen toll for crossing the Yalu Bridge to Antung-hsien. Dising-cars are carried on through express trains. Little or nothing to eat is sold at wayside stations. The line is a continuation of that from Fusan. Elevations range from 500 to 2000 ft.
Seoul, see p. 734. The train runs out through the Ryuuzan suburb, then beard toward the N.W. and traverses a carefully cultivated country flecked with villages overlooking valleys sown to rice; fine hills delimn the plains, and the region looks productive. The iron in the soil imparts a brick-red color to it, and contrasts sharply with the green herbage. As we go up the low valleys we get sweeping views of the lofty lateral spurs of the Paik-tu Mts. Despite their nearness to the capital the pesantry live as primitively s men of the flint age, and but a shade better than cliff-dwellers. Some of the hills are brown and bare, and are seamed by watercourses that have uncovered outcroppings of auriferous rocks. Beyond the unimportant station of (6 M.) Shuishoku the grade slopes gently upward and culminates in a tunnel piercing some tumbled hills covered with scrub pines and Paulownia imperialis. Tall poplars flank certain of the grain-fields, and stately herons fish in the solitary paddies. 16 M. Ichizan, 22 M. Kinson, 29 M. Bunzan, on the Rinshin River. The absence of temples and shrines in the landscape attracts the attention of travelers from Japan. Before 36 M. Choutan, we cross the wide Han River on an 8-span steel bridge. Considerable ginseng is cultivated round-about and plots of the bizarre plants protected from the sun by mats spread on framework dot the landscape. Numerous saucy black-and-white magpies add voice and motion to the region, the trees on the hill-slopes of which are as thinly scattered as the hairs of a Korean's beard. The granite monuments flanking the roads approaching big towns are memorials supposed to have been erected by grateful citizens to the memory of departing magistrates (but in most cases erected by the officials themselves -- lest the public forget!).
46 M. Kaijou (Kaisong, or Songdo), anciently the seat of the Kourai Dynasty, and capital of the peninsula from A.D. 960 to 1392, has 60,000 inhabs. and is curiously mediaeval. Inn: Kaiwa-Kwan, Y3. Much of the coarse cotton cloth which forms the national dress is made here, along with a crude earthenware called Kourai-yaki. The city is a great ginseng mart, and many of the ancient customs unaffected by modern progress prevail. Along the narrow, dirty streets go many curiously clad men and women, the latter often wrapped in white sheets gathered round their heads and reaching to their heels. When the breeze fills these ghostly habiliments and makes temporary balloons of them, they are almost as bizarre as the pink garments and curious yellow hats of the boy bridegrooms, or the peaked and scalloped hats and sackcloth coverings of professional mourners. The old metropolis is a large, smelly place in which the stranger will not be prevailed upon to linger. The piles of slender dried fish (called Mintai) which one often sees on the rly. station platform come from the N. province, and form a staple article of the Korean diet. The Bokuen Waterfall, 7 1/2 M. to the N., though regarded as a local wonder, is of no interest to travelers; likewise the ruins of an old palace (Keitukukyou) 1 1/4 M. to the S.
Beyond the tunnel which is passed just N. of Kaijou the line winds through the hills, on the lower slopes of hich are some quant brick-kilns constructed in the form of a series of low tomb-like ovens with a tall drift chimney in the center at the apex of two converging nests. The near-by hills are granitic in structure and from them comes some of the splendid granite with which the rly. tunnels are lined. Great blotches of wild iris deck the hill-slopes in late spring. The cave-like mud ovens on the hills are used for burning charcoal. 52 M. Dojou. 61 M. Keisei. 68 M. Kinkou. 75 M. Kampo. The grade is steadily upward, between hills which shelter fair valleys and necessitate numerous tunnels. Good views. The villages which dot the valleys own the fields and till them communistically; one often sees all the men and women of a community out in the open working side by side; ploughing, sowing, or reaping the harvest in a crude utopian way. The summer climate of the sheltered valleys is cool; the winter wheat does not ripen until June. The rich, reddish, alluvial soil produces bountifully. The many pheasants are practically unhunted, and the hills often echo to the metallic skirl of the male bird and the answering note of his dowdy mate. Serrated mt. ranges peer shyly above the distant horizon and add beauty to a productive country dappled with forlorn and melancholy hamlets. The people are so unimpressed by the leaven of progress gradually changing their country, that to foreigners they look very primitive, ignorant, and shabby. And this impression is accentuated by the mock dignity of the grimy, wretchedly poor, but nevertheless pompous, yang-bans one occasionally sees. The majority of the native huts are roofed with mouldy straw, and there are no attractive granges; nothing to betoken home comforts, personal prosperity or intellectual or moral advancement. The country is so big that the few inhabitants rattle round in it like a handful of peas in a big kettle, and their tawdry possessions suggest nomadic rather than fixed ways. Their wretched dwellings are as poorly equipped to withstand the rigors of winter as they are to protect the inmates against the attacks of the predatory tigers that infest the environing hills. -- Beyond 84 M. Nansen, the unimportant stations of Bukkai, Shimbaku, Zuiko, Kousui, Seikei, Bado, (125 M.) Shariin in a fine rice district, and Chinson, are passed. 140 M. Koushuu, in Hwang-Hai Province, is linked by a branch line to 9 M. Kenjiho, an uninteresting port on the Tai-dong Delta. -- 147 M. Kokkyou. 151 M. Chuuwa. 156 M. Rikiho. The Tai-dong is crossed on a 6-span steel bridge, then again on one of 5 spans. The many sail-boats which glance up and down the river suggest those of China.
162 M. HEIJOU (Phyong Yang, or Ping Yang), a sometime celebrated city (Inns: Yanagiya; Mine; Sakura-ya, all from Y3 and upward) with 41,000 inhabs. (11,000 of which are Japanese) in Seouth-Phyong-An Province, on the N. bank of the Tai-dong 50 M. from its mouth, is one of the oldest cities in Korea; here Ki Tse the traditional founder of Korea is said to have established his capital in B.C. 1122, and the credulous still point out traces of the original walls as well as the founder's tomb (3 1/4 M. to the N.E.). History records that the old city became the capital of Kourai in the 6th cent., and that when Kourai fell it was the center from which the Chinese prefects administered the affairs of the conquered provinces. Its Chinese characteristics still show in the old walls, forts, and gates; the prosession of which has been the cause of many sanguinary struggles between Mongols and Manchus, Koreans and Japanese. Hideyoshi's army under Konishi Yukinaga captured the city in 1592, and so battered and beaten was it by the Japanese in the great battle of Sept. 15, 1894, during the China-Japan War, that of its reputed 80,000 inhabs., all but 15,000 fled or were killed. The fine monolith on one of the knolls within the walls commemorates the 168 Japanese killed in this engagement. For many years Ping Yang bore an unenviable reputation as a sort of Sodom, and it is yet spoken of as the wickedest city in the peninsula. To Koreans its very name suggests beautiful women, wealth, and licentiousness. Its scorn for religion and missionaries was notorious prior to its last downfall, but many of the latter reside there now and do good work. Though squalid and dismal from the foreign viewpoint, it is one of the most picturesquely situated capitals of Korea. It spreads over a lofty bluff rising abruptly from the Tai-dong, which here is bright, swift, clear, and 1200 ft. wide. The many Chinese junks and smaller craft which glance up and down its sparkling surface, and the scores of great timber rafts which come down from its upper reaches in summer, are of unfailing interest. The old Chinese wall 20 ft. high climbs like a sinuous dragon from the River Gate with its decorated pavilion, and winds over the hills like that of Seoul. The views from certain of the old forts which crown the loopholed, battle-mented, decaying relic are magnificent and far-reaching. From one of these vantage-points the city below is seen to be somewhat in shape like a Korean boat, ad because of this, the credulous natives dig no wells within the walls, believing that by so doing the bottom will be pierced and the boat will sink. The Korean vices of slothfulness and filth are reflected in all the narrow, tortuous streets, and little remains of the wealth, decoration, fine edifices and the like to remind the traveler of the one-time power and charm of the old metropolis. The decorations of the tottering temple of the God of War, once reputed the finest in Korea, are now faded and neglected. The Japanese are striving to modernize the city, and many of the newer buildings, along with the waterworks, are due to their efforts. The fertile region roundabout is now made to produce considerable silk and ginseng, and the celebrated Ping Yang Coal Mines are the largest in Korea. Americans know the city in connection with the atrocious murder of the crew of the American schooner General Sherman, as it lay at anchor in the river in 1866. Three years later, while Commander J.C. Febiger, of the U.S. Ship Shenandoah was lying off the mouth of the river, he surveyed the inlet and named it Shenandoah. There are a number of historical sites in the immediate neighborhood, but they are of interest only to Japanese and Koreans.
A branch rly. runs (S.W.) from Ping Yang through the uninteresting towns of of 9 M. Taihei, 17 M. Kiyou, and 25 M. Shinchido, to 34 M. Chinnampo, (several trains daily in 1 1/2 hrs.; fare, 1st cl., Y1.70; 2d cl., Y1.19), a thriving port (pop. 12,000) on the Tai-dong near where it empties into the Yellow Sea. The steamers of the Osaka Shosen Kaisha make it a port of call (weekly) on its Osaka-Antung line fare to Osaka Y30; to Antung, Y9; to Chemulpo, Y9). There is a good landing-place and a granite wharf. The great Salt Basin at Koang-yang Bay (near Chinnampo) is owned and operated by the Gov't Monopoly Bureau; evaporation is the method employed and the annual output is about 150 million lbs. The vast mud flats which the receding tides leave bare impart an air of desolation to the port. The chief inns are the Meigetsu, Asahi-kwan, and the Fusou-kwan, all managed by Japanese and all from Y3 a day and upward.
From HEIJOU the rly. continues its trend to the N.W. following the sea, but at some distance from it; many of the villages are merely clusters of decaying huts in a dreary region. 169 M. Seiho. 178 M. Jun-an. 188 M. Gyoha. 195 M. Shukusen. 201 M. Banjou. Beyond 209 M. Shin-anshuu we cross the Seiseiko River on a 9-span steel bridge, then the Daineiko on one of 7 spans, both upheld by splendidly massive granite piers. Laden junks come up the rivers from the adjacent sea, and make pretty pictures when they spread their broad sails to catch the breezes blowing above the tree-tops. Miles of rice-fields are now features of the drenches lowlands, and the blue herons (aosagi) which fish in the shallows mark the line hence to (100 M.) the Yalu River. As we approach this and the frontier, the hills show more trees, and the general aspect of the country improves. The stations are small and uninteresting and are stopped at by local trains only.
309 M. Shingishuu (or New Wiju), a growing Japanese frontier town on the S. bank of the broad and swift Yalu River, in North-Phyong-An Province, is the terminus of the main line of the Korean Rly. and is about 2 M. from the old Korean Wiju. The Shingishuu Station Hotel (English spoken) is similar to that in the (588 M.) Fusan Station and is under the rly. management. There are 8 comfortable bedrooms and the food is better than one will get elsewhere in the neighborhood. Spanning the river and linking the town to the Manchurian town of Antung-hsien (Antoken) is the longest pivot-ridge in the Far East. It was begun in 1909 from the Chinese side, cost Y1,752,308, and was completed and opened to traffic in Oct., 1911. It is 36 ft. wide, with a 10 ft. path for pedestrians (toll, 15 sen per person), with 6 spans of 200 ft., 6 of 300, and 1 of 306. The draw is opened twice daily to allow vessels to pass up and down. A picturesque procession of Koreans, Chinese, Russians, Japanese, and mongrels cross the bridge, which is a graceful and permanent monument to the skill of Japanese engineers.