Friday, 7 February 2014

Ascargot: Free Monorail Access to Asukayama Park

"Ascargot" climbs up the Asukayama Park Monorail Line
Asukayama is a historical urban park in the northern part of Tokyo Metropolis. It was opened by Shogun, Yoshimune Tokugawa in 1732 as a cherry blossom viewing spot for people in Edo City (present Tokyo Metropolis). During cherry blossom season, banquets and masquerades were allowed in the park by the Shogunate.

Today, Asukayama Park is owned by Kita Ward Office of Tokyo Metropolis. Many Tokyoites flock to this spot to enjoy their own activities, but the problem is that the park is located on top of a hill. Access to the park is bit hard for elderly and/or physically-handicapped persons.

In 2009, Kita Ward Office constructed a monorail line to climb up the hill to access the park. Connecting Asukayama-koen-iriguchi and Asukayama-sancho stations, the route length is 48m. The height difference between the highest and lowest points of the route is 17.4m. The maximum inclination is 24 degrees. It takes two minutes to move between the two stations.

The vehicle is driverless using an electric motor with a rack-and-pinion driving system. To be exact, this monorail is classified as an elevator under the Building Standards Act, not a monorail under the Railway Business Act. It is similar to that of the shuttle system in Narita Airport Terminal 2.

The nickname of the monorail is "Ascargot", which is a compound of Asukayama and 'escargot', since the design of the vehicle is like a snail used in French cooking. Ascargot is a charge-free monorail line. Thank you.

Local people practice traditional dancing near Asukayama-sancho Station in Asukayama Park
More information about "Ascargot" in Asukayama Park (in Japanese):