Tuesday, June 11, 2013

1200-year-old Wisteria on the Tobu-Noda Line


EMU Tobu 8000 series arrives at Nanasato Station on the Tobu-Noda Line
 
Wisteria is a pea family plant commonly seen in the low-mountains in Japan. It is a pale purple flower in the middle of spring. The natural wisteria in the mountains is definitely attractive; but artificial ones, grown using a trellis, is more gorgeous and impressive.

Look at the following photo. It is a full- blown wisteria tree seen in Ushijima Wisteria Garden of Kasukabe City, Saitama Prefecture. Amazingly, it is not a group of trees, but a single tree grown on the trellis. In other words, you can see only one trunk of the wisteria in the center of the trellis. What a horizontally extensive tree it is! More surprisingly, the oldest wisteria in this garden is 1200 years old. It was designated as a national treasure in 1928.

Why has it been able to survive for such a long time? It is because this garden used to be a part of an old temple. In early May, flower lovers flock to this beautiful garden to enjoy the advent of spring.

To get to this precious spot, take the Tobu-Noda Line and get off at Fuji-no-Ushijima Station. The Noda line is a circular route in the eastern half of the Tokyo metropolitan area, connecting Omiya and Funabashi. The major fleet on the route is an EMU 8000 series (see the top photo), which was launched in 1963. It is rather old, but a new model, the EMU 60000 series is planned to be introduced on the line later this month.

I will report on the 60000 series soon.

An old wisteria tree near Fuji-no-Ushijima Station on the Tobu-Noda Line