Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Rose Garden in Kanagawa Prefecture

8260F of the EMU Odakyu 8000 series travels on the Odakyu line

There are several reputable rose gardens in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. They are Yono Park, Kyu-Furukawa Garden, Keisei Rose Garden, Yatsu Rose Garden and Yokohama English Garden. Are there still more? Yes, Flower and Green Center is another must-see spot. I visited a rose garden of Flower and Green Center in May, and enjoyed the colorful blossoms as well as the sweet fragrances... a total of 1,300 kinds of roses.

To visit this beautiful garden, the nearest station is Hadano on the Odakyu line. What is new with Odakyu? On April 26th, the company announced that a new train, named the EMU 5000 series, will be launched by March, 2020. The introduction of the new commuter train model will be first time in 12 years. What are the distinctive features of the 5000 series? Firstly, the interior of the 5000 series is wider than those of the recent models such as the 3000 and the 4000 series. Secondly, the front of the body is streamlined, which is now in fashion.

What will happen after the introduction of the brand new 5000 series train? The oldest 8000 series will be gradually retired from the track. The EMU 8000 series, which was launched in 1982, is a fully painted steel body train. Its major assignment is as an express train to transport commuters from the western suburbs to the city center of Tokyo.

Take photos of the 8000 series before it is too late!

Rose garden of the Flower and Green Center near Hadano station on the Odakyu line

Official information about the new EMU Odakyu 5000 series (in Japanese):

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Iris Garden on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line

EMU Tokyo Metro 05 series (left) and 16000 series (right) on the Chiyoda line

The rainy season continues in Tokyo. From early June to mid-July, Tokyo has a hot and humid rainy season, called Tsuyu. It is a gloomy period for Tokyoites before midsummer, but it is a pleasure to see some kinds of beautiful flowers, which only bloom in this season. Along with hydrangeas, irises are typically seen during the rainy season in Tokyo. The large colorful blossoms are gorgeous and elegant. It is said that the practice of viewing iris flowers began to spread throughout Japan in the 13th century by flower-loving Samurais.

Last month, I visited a local iris garden in Adachi Ward, called Shobu-numa Garden (Iris Swamp Garden). The garden is located just in front of Kita-Ayase station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda line. If you go down from the station platform by the elevator, you can see beautiful iris flowers immediately after opening the elevator doors. What a convenient location it is! To our joy, admission to Shobu-numa Garden is free, as it is operated by Adachi Ward Office...thank you.

Incidentally, the platform length of Kita-Ayase station was recently extended from 80 to 200 meters. It is now enough to accommodate 10-car trains. As a result, not only the short EMU 05 series trains, but also the long EMU 16000 series trains can stop at Kita-Ayase station. It is good news for local people, as the number of stopping trains has increased. The completion of the long station platform will contribute to the growth of the Kita-Ayase area.

Shobu-numa (Iris Swamp) Garden is located just in front of Kita-Ayase station

Official information about the EMU Tokyo Metro 16000 series (in Japanese):

Saturday, 6 July 2019

EMU 209-1000 Series: Rare Train on the Chuo Line

Set ToTa82 of the EMU JR East 209-1000 series arrives at Kanda station on the Chuo line

As I posted before, JR East announced in September, 2018 that the EMU 209-1000 series on the Joban line would be transferred to the Chuo line. It was caused by the renovation and coupling of additional cars for the existing Chuo line trains (the EMU E233 series). In particular, toilets would be newly equipped and the Green Cars (the first class cars) would be added for improvement in the quality of passenger services. During this work period, trains on the Chuo line would be shorthanded, so that the 209-1000 series would be temporarily invited from the Joban line.

On March 16th, 2019, JR East launched the EMU 209-1000 series on the Chuo line. Currently, a total of two sets (ToTa81 and ToTa82), twenty cars, are commissioned on the line. Because of its technical restrictions, these two sets are operated on a limited section between Tokyo and Takao stations. In other words, the 209-1000 series cannot run beyond Takao station on the Chuo line, and cannot go onto the other lines, for example the Ohme line.

The bodies of the 209-1000 series have been changed from green to orange, which is the line color of the Chuo line. The 209-1000 series has become very popular among rail fans as it is a rare train. If you wish to take photos of the 209-1000 series, the timetable on a weekend is as follows. Good luck!

Leave Toyoda at 14.00 and arrive at Tokyo at 14.59, then leave Tokyo at 15.03 and arrive at Toyoda at 16.03

Set ToTa82 of the EMU JR East 209-1000 series travels on the Chuo line