Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Canola Flowers, Hint of Spring on the Tokaido Line

EMU JR East E231 series arrives at Ninomiya Station on the Tokaido Line

It's the coldest season of the year in Tokyo. Northerly winds bring cold, dry air over the metropolitan area. The daytime maximum temperature is lower than 10 degrees Celsius every day. However, just outside the downtown area has already been filled with hints of spring here and there. One of the examples is Azuma-yama (Mt. Azuma) near Ninomiya Station on the Tokaido Line.

Azuma-yama, this small mountain, is located 70km southwest of the downtown Tokyo. It's facing the Pacific Ocean to the south and is only ten minutes walk from the station. The 136-meter peak is less of a famous sightseeing spot than a recreation area for local people. It's a small hill that you might see anywhere in Japan.

But if you climb up this small mountain, you will find a different world. Numerous yellow flowers are blooming beautifully in the sunshine in the western portion of the summit (see the bottom photo). They are canola blossoms lovingly cared for by local people. In spite of it being a cold and windy place, canola blossoms are at their best now telling of the arrival of spring. Even more amazingly, insects are visiting the flowers for nectar.

To visit Azuma-yama, take the JR East Tokaido Line and get off at Ninomiya Station (see the top photo). It takes about 70 minutes from Tokyo station by local train. For your information, Limited Express and Rapid Service trains pass through this station, as Ninomiya is a small stop.

Spring is on the way in Tokyo.

Canola flowers at the summit of Azuma-yama near Ninomiya Station on the Tokaido Line