How to predict the temperature of a car cabin parking in the very cold weather?

The result of previous tests

Result 1

Temperature of inside of the car will be higher than outside by 3 degrees Celsius until midnight with following items.

  1. Electric blankets or 1 person ( 120W heat generator)
  2. Fiberglass insulator (Installed inside of inner linings.)

Result 2

If you add the items below, temperature of inside of the car will be higher than outside by 4 degrees Celsius until midnight.

  1. Styrofoam window panels
  2. Curtains between the passenger cabin and cargo room

Hereinafter, I shall omit “Celsius”.

Heat insulating items I brought to Hokkaido

Taking them into consideration, I went to Hokkaido with following items.

  1. Electric blankets
  2. Fiberglass insulator (Installed inside of inner linings.)
  3. Styrofoam window panels
  4. Curtains between the passenger cabin and cargo room
  5. Heat insulation mats

Temperature graphs in Hokkaido

Typical 3 types of difference variations are found.

Feb/27 Very warm => Very cold

I arrived at Tomakomai, Hokkaido by ferry at 21:00 on Feb/27/2018. Then, drove to Shimukappu village, and reached there around 23:00. At that time, outside temperature was -10 degrees, and inside temperature was more than 15 degrees. So the difference was almost 30 degrees at first.

I stopped the engine, and started again around 5:10 next morning. While the car was parking, outside temperature fell rapidly and was below -20 degrees, and difference also fell rapidly as well, but still it was about 8 degrees 6 hours after engine stopped.

At 5:00 next morning, inside of the car temperature was -15 degrees, and it was very cold, but still difference was relatively high compared with previous tests.

Predict the temperature of car cabin

The effect of IMPROVED thermal insulation on HIACE VAN

Still not enough

As explained in my previous article The effect of thermal insulation on HIACE,

  • Car inside temperature will be higher by 3 degrees Celsius with 120 W heat.
  • It would be 4 degree Celsius if you add heat insulation panelS on cargo room windows, and a curtain between cargo room and passenger cabin.

This 3 or 4 degrees are better than nothing, but it is not enough in Hokkaido winter, where temperature sometimes goes below -10 degrees Celsius.

So I tried some of additional items to improve the heat insulation.

Added items for better heat insulation

The added items are below.

Heat insulation mat

This is 7 mm thick tile shape mats. I laid them out on the bed floor.

test the improved heat insulation on HIACE VAN
Heat insulation mats

Heat insulation sheet

This is a large size 4 mm thick sheet. I stand it to cover the cargo room to keep cold air out.

test the improved heat insulation on HIACE VAN
Heat insulation sheet

The effect of thermal insulation on HIACE

Add thermal insulation to my new HIACE VAN

My newly ordered HIACE VAN was delivered on Aug./5/2017.

One of the popular modifications among HIACE buffs is add heat insulation material between the panel and inner linings.

I was planning to go to Hokkaido, northern part of Japan in winter, so adding thermal insulation was my first priority.

I started the work in August, and it was very hot inside the HIACE VAN in the middle of summer.

Source of information

Beforehand, I got useful information from the following blogs. (They are all written in Japanese.)

Quest for enjoyment with HIACE

It was really hard work

Remove the carpet on the floor.


Improve the fixture of HIACE VAN solar panel

Very difficult to detach the panel

The solar panel was mounted on the roof with roof carrier.

The panel is fixed onto the carrier by C-shaped metal parts and hexagon head bolts and nuts.

I hope my poor drawing below may help you.

Fixture of solar panel

The solar panel is fixed on the cross member of roof carrier with C shaped metal parts and M6 hexagon bolts and nuts.

improve the fixture of solar panel
C shaped metal parts

You’ll see the below image if you see the direction of arrow B shown in above drawing.

(The bolts and nuts are already replaced by butterfly nuts and bolts.)

improve the fixture of solar panel
Outside view of fixture

Add batteries to HIACE VAN solar photovoltaic system

Prepare for winter trip to Hokkaido

Stored electric power in the solar system

As mentioned in previous article, 2 batteries were installed in the solar system in HIACE VAN. Battery is ACDelco’s M27MF, its nominal capacity is 105 Ah.

HIACE solar system modification

105 Ah means 105 Ah × 12 V = 1260 Wh.

Assume that 70 % of stored energy can be utilized, 1260 Wh × 0.7 =882 Wh.

Multiplied by the quantity, 882 Wh × 2 = about 1700 Wh.

Required electric power in Hokkaido winter

On the other hand, expected daily electric power consumption in winter Hokkaido is

Electric blanket 30 W × 10 h = 300 Wh

Electric water boiler 440 W × 0.5 h = 220 Wh

USB charger 15,000 mAh × 3.6 V × 2 unit = 108 Wh

Therefore, roughly estimated daily electric power consumption is 628 Wh


Install curtains on HIACE VAN to maintain privacy while door are open

Open the doors to circulate the air inside

In summer, it’s necessary to open both of slide doors keep open when relaxing in HIACE. Though, if you keep the doors open, you want to curtain off the opening to maintain privacy. So I decided to install curtains.

First I tried to find ready to attach curtains, that is specially designed for HIACE, and I could only find curtains that covers windows, but none that is long enough to cover whole slide door.

Then, I was considering to install curtains by myself.

I started DIY curtain project

It’s easier to suspend a curtain with hooks attacked onto the ceiling, but I wanted to draw curtains to keep them half open or full open quickly. So I tried to find how I can install a curtain rail for a house to achieve better usability.

How to install curtain rails ?

How about making a hole on each pillar, then attach a curtain rail directly?

It may work, but as far as I checked, curtain rails for houses are attached with φ2.7 mm or φ3.5 mm wood screws. If you attach a curtain rail directly to pillars, you can only use  2 of M2 or M3 screws, and  apparently, it’s not strong enough.

I guess it’s not good looking, but better to attach a curtain rail to a square timber, then attach the timber to the pillars.

Select suitable parts and buy

A) Curtain Rails

I chose the one that was light and flexible in case it falls. It’s length is adjustable between 1 m and 2 m.

Square Telescopic Curtain Rail 2m single type (white)

B) Plates to fasten the timber to the hole on the pillars

I purchased stainless plates with a hole of φ6.5 mm to fix it with M6 bolts and nuts.

They can be iron plates, but ones I found was painted black, and I wanted silver ones, so I bought stainless ones.


Travel to scenic Japan: Tadami Line complete shooting spot guide

About Tadami line

Tadami line is located in the north of Tokyo, and it takes about 4 hours to reach Aizu Wakamatsu station from Tokyo via Shinkansen. It runs between Aizu Wakamatsu station and Koide station, but currently between Aizu Kawaguchi Sta. and Tadami Sta. is out of service because of flood in 2011. It runs rural mountainous area, and runs only 4 or 6 trains a day for each direction. It takes about 6 hours to go through the Tadami line from Aizu Wakamatsu Koide Sta. No express train is available.

Location of Tadami line

Good News

I learned that the restoration work of Tadami line, currently suspended between Aizu kawaguchi station and Tadami station, will start soon. The work is scheduled to finish before March/2022.

I have been there several times to shoot steam locomotive between 2005 and 2009.

In this article, I’ll introduce beautiful shooting spots of Tadami line.

When I visited the Tadami line, I lived in Nagoya. From Nagoya, Tadami line is so far, so it was difficult to change the schedule according to weather forecast, and only to stick to the original schedule. Therefore, you’ll find many of the photos I took are under the cloud. However, I believe that autumn leaves look better in cloudy weather with moisture.

Between Takiya station and Aizu Hinohara station

The train running on the iron bridge. You can take it from prefectural road 32. The steam locomotive train in the photo headed for Koide station. Steam locomotive train on Tadami line does not smoke so much, so this much smoke is a kind of good success.

Tadami Line shooting spot

Recommended hours for better lighting

early morning ~ daytime

Shooting Location


The arrow means lens direction


Travel to scenic Japan: Oito Line complete shooting spot guide

About Oito line

Location of Oito line

Ohito line is located in the central japan. It runs through the mountainous area, northern Japanese alps, and you can enjoy fantastic scenery. It runs between Matsumoto city and Itoigawa city. Southern part  is electrified and northern part is not, and there is no direct train which connects both terminals. The boundary between electrified and non-electrified section is Minami-Otari station. In non-electrified section, only a few trains runs.

Location of Minami-Otari station wihch devides Oito line into 2 parts

It takes about 2.5~3.0 hours form Tokyo to Matsumoto by Shinkansen train. 

Required time and money from Tokyo to Matsumoto

Oito line shooting spots

I visited Oito line many times between 2003 and 2009. At that time, very old type diesel cars KIHA52 was still running in this area, and were very popular among railway enthusiasts.

Diesel car KIHA52

Now all the KIHA52 were disused, and now new type KIHA120 are running.

KIHA120 diesel car. For Oito line, color is a bit different.

In this article, I’ll introduce Oito line shooting spots. It has been almost 10 years since I last visited there, so I find out the current situation of each spot with Google Maps, and attach the result.

Between Azumi Kutsukake station and Shinano Tokiwa station (1 of 2)

This place is famous among railway fan. You can find many examples in the Web.


Travel to scenic Japan: Beautiful mountain views of Hokkaido Senmo line

Good weather is must for beautiful shots

When I was a company employee, I could only visit Hokkaido during Japanese vacation season, i.e. New year vacation, Golden Week vacation, and Summer Obon vacation. So it was very difficult for me to visit Hokkaido with good weather.

Because I quit the company, now I can visit Hokkaido according to the weather forecast. I visited Hokkaido between the end of February and the beginning of March of 2018.

In this article, I’ll show you beautiful scenery of mountains with Senmo line train.

Where is Senmo line ?

It is located in the west side of Hokkaido.

From Tokyo Station to Kushiro station, it takes around 4 hours by direct flight from Haneda airport.

The southern part runs through famous Kushiro Wetland, and the northern part runs on the coast of Sea of ​​Okhotsk, which is famous for Ice floe.


Train with Mount Io (Between Kawayu Onsen station and Midori station)

Mount Io is an active volcano, and  generates smoke of sulfur dioxide.

It is 512 m high. Io means sulfur in Japanese.


Travel to scenic Japan: Be relaxed with steam locomotive train Yamaguchi

About steam locomotive train Yamaguchi

In Japan, steam locomotive was out of use in March, 1976 for practical use. But for tourists, steam locomotive train Yamaguchi started to run in August 1979. Since then, it continues to run on every Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays as a tourist train. Until last year, steam locomotive model C57 and C56 pulled the train. This year, a newly restored locomotive model D51 started to run, and model C56 retired instead.

Yamaguchi line is located in Yamaguchi prefecture that sits in the east area of Japan. 

It connects Shin-Yamaguchi station and Masuda station, but steam locomotive Yamaguchi runs from Shin-Yamaguchi station to Tsuwano station.

Trip to Shin-Yamaguchi station

Hereafter, steam locomotive train is shortened to be SLT

Introducing standard and popular shooting spots

Recently, I’m visiting Yamaguchi line several times to take photos of model D51, and have gathered the latest information of each spot. In this article, I’ll show you popular shooting spots of SLT Yamaguchi including example photos, map, and how each spot is congested. Please see the below explanation.


Classified into these 3 categories

1: a few visitors

2: up to 30 visitors

3: more than 30 visitors


Classified into these 3 categories

1: a few visitors

2: up to 30 visitors

3: more than 30 visitors

If the capacity of the spot is less than expected number of visitors, then you should go to the spot more earlier.

Between Miyano station and Niho station (Oyamaji)


COS: 2

Train Direction: To Tsuwano

this is a popular shooting spot near Shin-Yamaguchi station, which is the starting station of SLT Yamaguchi. Here, you can take photos of SLT Yamaguchi heading squarely with a lot of smoke coming out.

SL Yamaguchi Scenic Location


Google Maps