Monday, August 1, 2011

Mystic Ancient Lotus and Evergreen Classic Train


Evergreen EMU, Chichibu 1000 series runs backed by a lush paddy field near Gyoda City Station

In 1973, unusual lotus blossoms were found in a pool of a waste incineration plant in Gyoda City; a northern suburb of Tokyo. As a consequence of an expert investigation, it became clear that they were between 1,400 and 3,000 years old, and germinated by drilling the pool, which was conducted as a part of the plant construction.

Gyoda City government named the lotus “Kodai-hasu (Ancient Lotus)” and designated it as a natural treasure. During more than 30 years since then, the local people have been protecting and propagating the Kodai-hasu. Today, this lotus authigenic spot became renowned, and a lot of holidaymakers visit there to enjoy the blossoms during July and August; the time of bloom.

I visited Gyoda City last weekend and enjoyed viewing them in Kodai-hasu Garden. They were pinkish, mystic and pretty large blossoms. I could only be amazed at the lotus’s survival ability, because they germinated from 1,400 to 3,000 years old seeds.

In the meantime, I took a local train of Chichibu Railway to reach Gyoda City; the nearest station to Kodai-hasu Garden. Chichibu is one of the local railway companies, whose route extends to the northern part of Saitama Prefecture. This firm cherishes second-hand trains that were renovated after acquiring them from major railway companies, such as JR East and Tokyu. I rode an EMU 1000 series; ex-JR East 101 series, manufactured in the 1960s. The banana-colored body with a chocolate stripe was still very clean.

I really enjoyed the ancient lotus and the evergreen classic train all together.

A mystic blosssom of Kodai-hasu (Ancient Lotus) in Kodai-hasu Garden, Gyoda City

More information about Chichibu Railway (in Japanese): http://www.chichibu-railway.co.jp/index.html