Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Winter Cherry Blossoms on the JR East Hachiko Line

DMU JR East KiHa 110 series near Tansho Station on the Hachiko Line

Although there is no designated national flower in Japan, many people think it is the cherry blossom. From March to April, the cherry trees bloom in pink all over the Japanese archipelago. On weekends at this time, major viewing spots in Japan are crowded with people who come to see the flower.

But, some cherry trees also bloom in winter. They are called "Fuyu-zakura (winter cherry)". So, viewing Fuyu-zakura is one of the amusements for flower lovers. Last weekend, I took the JR East Hachiko Line and headed northwest. My destination was Tansho, a small station located in Kamikawa Town, Saitama Prefecture.

Connecting Hachioji, a western suburb of Tokyo and Kuragano in Takasaki city of Gunma Prefecture, the Hachiko Line penetrates the north-western part of the Tokyo metropolitan area from south to north. The operation length is 92km. The Hachiko line is divided into two sections at Komagawa. The southern section is a commuter line, electrified at 1,500 V DC. Meanwhile, the northern section is non-electrified, a typical single track local route. DMU KiHa 110 series is operated hourly on average. So, I had to change from the EMU to the DMU at Komagawa Station (see the top photo). It's a bit inconvenient for passengers.

After arriving at Tansho Station, I took a bus and visited Sakura-yama (Cherry Mountain). It was a steep mountainous area, where 7,000 cherry trees were planted. It was late bright fall. I enjoyed both autumn leaves and cherry blossoms at the same time (see the bottom photo).

I had a great weekend again.

Winter cherry blossoms in the Sakura-yama Mountain near Tansho Station, the Hachiko Line