Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Kintetsu-Yoshino Line, Access to the Roots of Japan

EMU Kintetsu 6200 series arrives at Kashihara-jingu-mae Station on the Yoshino Line

Nara Prefecture is located in the western part of Japan, some 500km west of Tokyo. This prefecture is well known as an area of Japan's ancient capital. I visited Nara Prefecture recently to see historical places and enjoy the local railways with my family.

My first destination was Asuka Village, which was the Japan's capital from 592 to 694. Although, it is a small village in a sleepy countryside now, Asuka was once the Japan's center where the emperors lived. One of the famous places in this area is Asuka-temple. It was opened in 596 by Soga no Umako, who conducted political reforms during the rules of Emperor Bidatsu and Empress Suiko. We can still see Japan's oldest Great Buddha in this temple (see the following picture). It was made by Tori Busshi in 606. Strange to say, this Great Buddha faces a little to the right. What is he staring at?

To get to Asuka Village, the Kintetsu-Yoshino Line is convenient. Kintetsu (Kinki Nippon Railway) is Japan's largest private railway company, which has a 508.2km network. The Yoshino Line is a small 25.2km local route connecting Kashiharajingu-mae and Yoshino.

The EMU 6200 series is one of the main fleets on the Yoshino Line (see the top photo). It was launched in 1974 to replace the old model. A total of 9 sets, 38 units, have been manufactured so far. The specification is rather old, but all of the units are still operated without being scrapped.

The Kintetsu-Yoshono Line is an access to the roots of Japan.

Japan's oldest Great Buddha (606 A.D.) in Asuka-temple near Asuka Station
Remarks: Visitors are allowed to take photographs of Great Buddha in Asuka-temple.
備考: 飛鳥寺では、仏像の写真撮影が許可されています。