Saturday, 4 April 2020

The Ninth Anniversary of Tokyo Railway Labyrinth

EMU Tokyo Metro 16000 series passes through Kyodo station on the Odakyu line    

My blog has its ninth anniversary next week. I thank all my blog readers for visiting this website over the last nine years. I received a lot of emails from my blog readers, but sorry, I recently can't reply at all, because I have lots of work to do. Please wait until I can make time. In commemoration of the ninth anniversary, I am going to show you a railway line with the number "9" in the name.

Subway line 9 in Tokyo is generally called the Chiyoda line. To be more accurate, most Tokyoites don't know that the Chiyoda line is officially described as Subway line 9 in "Railway Directly", which is the official handbook regarding Japanese railways.

The Chiyoda line was opened in 1969 as the sixth subway route in Tokyo. Connecting Yoyogi-Uehara and Kita-Ayase, the total operating length is 24 kilometers. The trains are directly operated onto the JR East Joban and the Odakyu lines. A total of 1.11 million passengers take this route each day. To operate this urban trunk subway line, more than 60 sets of trains are required every day. They are covered by the Tokyo Metro 16000, 05 series, the Odakyu 4000, 60000 series and the JR East 233-2000 series. My office is located near Otemachi station on the Chiyoda line, so that I also often use it together with the Odkyu line.

Subway line 9... I appreciate its continuous support for my commuting.

EMU Tokyo Metro 05 series stands at Kita-Ayase station on the Chiyoda line    

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

2020 Sakura Season in Tokyo

Night view of Tokyo station    

On March 15th, the Meteorological Agency of Japan declared that sakura (cherry) blossoms had started blooming in Tokyo. It was the earliest record in history. The agency then reported that they fully blossomed on March 22nd.

As I post year after year, Japanese people harbor romantic emotions towards sakura blossoms. We are also reminded of the emptiness of life seeing the beautiful blossoms dropping only a week after they fully blossom. Sakura viewing is a part of Japanese culture. Famous sakura spots are crowded with admirers. They spread mats on the ground under the blossoms, and have parties with their family, friends and colleagues.

Wait a minute please. This year, the situation was totally different from previous years. We were prohibited to hold parties under the sakura trees in the public places due to new coronavirus infection risks. I had no choice but to take only several sakura photographs on the way back home from my office. I saw very few people walking and watching sakura blossoms around the Imperial Palace. There was a little traffic on the streets in the evening.

Incidentally, I shot a night view of Tokyo station from my office before shooting fully bloomed sakura trees. It was a good warming up for my sakura shooting. The station scenery was very beautiful against the evening sky same as before, but it was different since the invisible new coronavirus was active out of sight of ordinary people.

I hope things will blow over soon.

Sakura (cherry) blossoms in full bloom near Tokyo station    

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Preserved SL and Long Suspension Bridge in Mishima

Steam locomotive, unit 322 of the Class C58 is preserved in Mishima City    

Mishima is a gateway city to the Izu resort area. It's located about 120 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. The JR Central Tokaido Shinkansen, the Tokaido main line and Izu-Hakone Railway trains extend to Mishima station. Many holidaymakers pass through this station to visit Shuzenji, Izu-Nagaoka and the other reputable sightseeing places.

Wait a moment please. Mishima is not just any transit city. It has its own must-see spots. For instance, I recently visited Mishima Skywalk in the suburban area. It's 400 meters-long, the longest suspension bridge in Japan. Crossing this pedestrian bridge, I could enjoy an excellent view including snow-capped Mt. Fuji. Besides the bridge, many people were enjoying zip-line rides.

For rail-fans, I also recommend visiting Mishima Hometown Museum in the downtown area. You can see a preserved steam locomotive (SL), unit 322 of the Class C58 in front of the museum building. The C58 is a 2-6-2 type (Whyte notation) large SL coupled with a coal tender. A total of 431 units were built by Kisha Seizo and Kawasaki Sharyo between 1938 and 1947. Unit 322 was built by Kisha Seizo Osaka Factory in 1942. After being operated on the Hokuriku main line, it was moved to Mishima City and preserved as an exhibition for Mishima Hometown Museum in 1971.

For your information, two units of the Class C58, namely numbers 239 on the JR East Kamaishi line and 363 on the Chichibu Railway, are still operated on the tracks as sightseeing trains.

Mishima Skywalk and snow-capped Mt. Fuji