Thursday, 7 June 2012

Lupinus Hill on the Tobu-Tojo Line


EMU Tobu 50000 series, express train arrives at Ikebukuro Station on the Tojo Line

Lupinus, also known as Lupins or Lupines, is a leguminous plant originally from the Mediterranean region, Africa and the Americas. The shape of the flower is similar to that of wisteria, but the flowers open up from the bottom to the top. So it is called Nobori-fuji (climbing wisteria) in Japan. Numerous colors are seen in the flowers such as yellow, pink, purple and white.

Where can we see Lupinus? One of the reputable Lupinus fields in the Tokyo metropolitan area is Musashi Kyuryo Shinrin Koen (Musashi Hills Forest Park) in Saitama Prefecture, which is located about 60km northwest of downtown Tokyo. A total of 35,000 flowers are seen near the western entrance of the park in late May and early June (see the following picture).

To visit Musashi Kyuryo Shinrin Koen, the Tobu-Tojo Line is convenient. Connecting Ikebukuro, a subcenter of Tokyo and Kawagoe City in Saitama Prefecture, Tobu-Tojo Line was opened in 1914. Then, it was fully opened in 1925 between Ikebukuro and Yorii. The total line length is 75km. It takes about one hour from downtown Ikebukuro to Shinrin Koen Station by express train.

The orange colored EMU, Tobu 50000 series is a major fleet on the line. It was launched in 2005. Currently, 9 sets, a total of 90 units are operated on the Tojo Line, meanwhile their brothers, namely 50050, 50070 and 50090 series are also operated on the Tojo and the other Tobu lines.

My weekend travel seeking trains and flowers goes on and on.

 
Lupinus field in the Musashigaoka Shinrin-koen (Musashi Hills Forest Park) near Shinrin-koen Sta.

More information about trains on the Tobu Railway (in Japanese): http://www.tobu.co.jp/corporation/rail/vehicles/