Saturday, July 20, 2013

Nara, Rapidly Changing City and Railway

EMU Hanshin 1000 series runs on the Kintetsu-Nara Line near Yamato-Saidaiji Station
 
Nara is the main city in Nara Prefecture. It was Japan's capital from 710 to 784 after Asuka (592-694) and Fujiwara-kyo (694-710). The ancient capital, namely Heijo-kyo, was located west of the present downtown area. It was a preplanned city with checkerboard streets.

Heijo-kyo has been farmland for a long time since the capital was moved to Nagaoka-kyo in Kyoto in 784. It means that Heijo-kyo had been a long-forgotten capital. Currently, a rebuilding project of Heijo-kyo is going on. For instance, the Former Imperial Audience Hall (see the following photo) was reconstructed and completed in 2010 in commemoration of the 1300th anniversary of capital relocation from Fujiwara-kyo to Heijo-kyo.

To get to this ancient capital, the nearest railway station is Yamato-Saidaiji on the Kintetsu-Nara, Kyoto and Kashihara lines. You can access this interchange station directly from major nearby cities such as Osaka and Kyoto, taking the Kintetsu or Kyoto Municipal Subway. Furthermore, people, who live in Kobe City, are now able to visit Nara directly, as direct operation between the Kintetsu and Hanshin railways began in 2009 through Osaka-Nanba Station. So, we can also see Hanshin Railway's trains on the Kintetsu track in Nara City now (see the top photo). Times have really changed. It is an irresistible attraction for rail fans to see various kinds of trains in Nara City.

Rebuilding the ancient capital and reinforcing the railway network... Nara is an old but rapidly changing city.

 
The Former Imperial Audience Hall (restored building) in Heijo-kyo near Yamato-Saidaiji Station
 
More inforation about the EMU Hanshin 1000 series (in Japanese):