“Kobe marked the end of the IJGR [Imperial Japanese Government Railway] Tokaido Line and was the start of the San’yo Tetsudo. During the building of the Kobe-Kyoto line, Kobe served as the national headquarters of the Railway Bureau.
“… In 1888, a charter was granted for a railway to run a trunk line southwesterly from Kobe, where it had been granted running powers over the approach to the IJGR station, to the port of Shimonoseki at the very southern tip of Honshu.
“The railway was named the San’yo Tetsudo. San’yo is a term borrowing from the Chinese philosophical concept of Yin and Yang, meaning roughly ‘the Yang [i.e. sunny] side of the mountains’ and is the name of the geographical region of Honshu seaboard southwest of Osaka/Kobe which borders the Inland Sea.”
– Early Japanese Railways, 1853-1914: Engineering Triumphs that Transformed Meiji-era Japan, by Dan Free, 2008