Saturday, 6 August 2011

EMU JR Central 313 Series, a Trip to Superb "Onsen"


EMU JR Central 313 series local train near Kai-ueno Station on the Minobu Line

Japan is a country of volcanoes, and every region has a plenty of "onsens" (natural hot springs). So, Japanese people love onsens, and I’m also one of them. I often visit "Mitama-no-yu" onsen in Yamanashi Prefecture; a western suburb of Tokyo. I like this onsen, because it has a superb view. You can enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery surrounding the Kofu basin while bathing.

Mitama-no-yu, which means hot spring of the soul, is located on top of a hill near Kai-ueno Station on the Minobu Line, JR Central (see the bottom photo). The facility is very clean, and composed of a spa, a massage room, a souvenir shop and a restaurant, so we can spend all day long there.

To get to Kai-ueno Station, you should take the Chuo Line of JR East from Tokyo. Then, change to the Minobu Line of JR Central at Kofu Station. From Kofu, a lovely local train of the EMU JR Central 313 series (see the top photo) brings you to Kai-ueno. It takes a total of 2 and a half hours from downtown Tokyo to Mitama-no-yu.

The EMU 313 series have been manufactured since 1999. The stainless body with a white "face" and an orange stripe is very cool. It’s composed of two or three coaches with four 185kW inverter driven induction motors per unit. The maximum speed is 130km per hour. In the meantime, the track gauge is 1067mm, and the electric system is 1500V overhead.

A trip to a superb onsen on the cool local train… I had a cheerful weekend again.


313 series runs backed by Mitama-no-yu Hot Spring (building in the upper left-hand side)