Thursday, April 11, 2013

Winter Sakura on the Izukyu Line


EMU JR East 251 series, "Super View Odoriko" passes through Izu-Taga Station on the Ito Line

Following the introduction of the Izukyu Line (see my blog on April 9th, 2013), I am going to show you the famous winter Sakura (cherry blossoms) on the line.

Kawazu is a small town located in the southern part of Izu Peninsula. Until the 1970s, it was a quiet town, which had hot springs and a beach. But in the 1980s, it drastically changed with the beginning of the annual Kawazu Sakura Festival in winter.

The Kawazu Sakura, otherwise known as "Winter Sakura" was found by chance in 1955 in Kawazu Town. It is thick and pink-colored, and blooms for longer than normal Sakura. It has been lovingly cared for and planted by local people. Today, visitors can see the beautiful Kawazu Sakura blossoms in February which is two months earlier than the normal Sakura. Needless to say, many tourists flock to this small town to enjoy an early spring mood.

To visit this Winter Sakura town from Tokyo. A limited express train, "Super View Odoriko" (the EMU JR East 251 series) is convenient. The 251 series was launched in 1990 as a sightseeing train. A total of 4 sets, 40 units have been manufactured by Kawasaki heavy industries and Kinki Sharyo. As the train name, "Super View" suggests, the 251 series boasts a superb view from the cabin, since the floor is higher than that of a normal train.

Winter Sakura and the train with a superb view; a trip to Kawazu is a fully packed holiday for Tokyoites.

Full-blown Winter Sakura trees near Kawazu Station on the Izukyu Line
 
More information about JR East 251 series, "Super View Odoriko":