Thursday, 8 December 2011

Sky Blue Trains Connecting Three Prefectural Capitals

EMU JR East E233-1000 series arrives at Tokyo Station, the Keihin Tohoku Line

When Tokyoites think of "sky blue colored trains", they imagine the JR East Keihin-Tohoku Line. Connecting Ofuna and Omiya, it penetrates the Tokyo metropolitan area from south to north. There are 35 stations over a total operating length of 59.1km.

Formally, the Keihin-Tohoku Line is divided into three lines. The southernmost section, which connects Ofuna and Yokohama, is called the Negishi Line. The central section, between Yokohama and Tokyo, is a part of the Tokaido Main Line. Finally, the northernmost section, between Tokyo and Omiya, is a part of the Tohoku Main Line. Although, the formal names of the line are discrete, people call it the Keihin-Tohoku Line, because trains are directly operated on three lines.

One of the features of this line is that it connects three prefectural capitals in the Tokyo Metropolitan area. They are Yokohama City of Kanagawa Prefecture, Tokyo, and Saitama City of Saitama Prefecture. Because of its line alignment, the Keihin-Tohoku Line trains are always full with commuters and students. Nevertheless, 10 car trains are operated every 2-3 minutes during rush hours and every 5 minutes during the daytime, I always see packed trains at Tokyo Station.

In the meantime, the most attractive place on this line is Akihabara, where Japan's largest oasis for "otaku" -- a subculture lover, who likes anime, gaming, electronics etc. Whether you are an otaku or not, Akihabara will have more than enough to make a visit worthwhile. So, I will introduce this subculture town some time in the future.

The Yamanote Line E231-500 (left) and the Keihin-Tohoku Line E233-1000 series