Monday, October 10, 2011

Burningbush Hill on the MinatoLine

Railcar Type KiHa 3710 near Nakaminato Station, Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway

Burningbush, academic name: Kochia scoparia, is a very useful plant in Japan.

Firstly, it's used as the material for making brooms. So, its name is "Houkigusa (broom grass)" in this country. Secondly, the seeds are edible as a rare delicacy called "tonburi", especially in the northern part of Japan. Its texture is similar to caviar. So, it's called "land caviar" in Japan. Thirdly, it's also grown for ornamental purposes. It produces many small flowers in August. Then, in October, it turns a glowing red. It's very impressive as a signal of the coming of autumn.

To enjoy viewing beautiful burningbush, which has changed to a red color, I strongly recommend visiting Hitachinaka City in Ibaraki Prefecture, a northern suburb of the Tokyo metropolitan area. It takes around one hour from downtown Tokyo to Katsuta on a limited express train of the Joban Line, JR East. Then, you should transfer to the Minato Line of Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway to Ajigaura, a terminal station. The Burningbush Hill is located in the Hitachinaka Kaihin Park near this station (see the bottom photo).

This small local railway was severely damaged on March 11th this year by a giant earthquake. But, since then, the company has been making all-out efforts to get it back up and running. Eventually, the trains resumed operation all the way along the line on July 23rd. Lovely railcars type KiHa 3710 and others also returned to operation (see the top photo).

Visit the Burningbush Hill on the local railway… today was a very beautiful day again in the autumn weekend.

Burningbush Hill in Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki Prefecture

More information about railcars of Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway (in Japanese):