Saturday, 18 May 2013

Sunset and Commuter Train in the Northern Cities

EMU JR Hokkaido 731 series, a commuter train stands at Sapporo Station (August, 2012)
Following my last blog on May 17th, 2013, I am going to show you the other rolling stock on the island of Hokkaido.

I visited Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, last summer. It was a journey full of memories for me and my family. The trains in the northern island made our trip especially memorable... i.e., limited express "Super Hakucho", Hakodate City Tram and overnight sleeper "Hokutosei".

But, I must remember to show you the commuter trains in the major cities of Hokkaido. Look at the top photo. It is the EMU JR Hokkaido 731 series standing at Sapporo Station. Sapporo with a population of 1.9 million is the largest city in Hokkaido. Taking Sapporo as its starting point, the urban commuter railway network connects several large cities, such as Otaru, Asahikawa and Chitose.

The 731 series is an EMU with an alternate current system. It is different from the trains in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The other feature of this train is that the 731 series has equipment which is resistant to the cold and snow, such as "air curtains" to prevent the cold outside air from flowing into the cabin.

Getting on the 731 series, we visited Otaru City, which is located about 40km west of Sapporo. Our target was a waterfront restaurant, where we could see a beautiful sunset over the Sea of Japan. The sunset through the drinking glasses became a cherished memory for us (see the following picture).

I am impatient for a summer vacation to Hokkaido again.
Sunset through the glasses at a waterfont restaurant near Otaru Station (August, 2012)