Monday, March 17, 2014

Seven Deities of Good Fortune on the Karasuyama Line

Classic DMU JR East KiHa 40-1000 series arrives at Kohnoyama Station on the Karasuyama Line
 
After taking pictures of the test run scene of the brand new accumulator train, I headed to Hoshakuji Junction to ride a classic DMU on the Karasuyama Line. Enjoying the brand new and the classic trains... it is a good balance.

The JR East Karasuyama Line is a short local route, connecting Hoshakuji Junction on the Tohoku Main Line and Karasuyama Terminal in Tochigi Prefecture, some 100km north of Tokyo. It is a 1,067mm gauge, non-electrified and single track. The total operating length is 20.4km. There are several sightseeing spots such as beautiful waterfalls and natural flower fields on the line. I particularly love the gorgeous Nippon Bell blossoms, which are seen on a hill in early spring.

The DMU KiHa 40-1000 series is the an only group of vehicles operated on this route. They were manufactured in 1979 and 1982 by Fuji Heavy Industries and Niigata Tekko. Today, the Karasuyama Line is the only JR East route where we can see the KiHa 40 series in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

I saw lovely illustrations on the bodies of DMUs and signboards of the stations on the Karasuyama Line. They are seven deities of good fortune, who appear in Japanese mythology and folklore. It is said that each deity has its own role. On the Karasuyama Line, local people believe that each deity watches over each station, since there are seven stations on the line.

I also felt seven fortunes while riding the train on the Karasuyama Line... maybe.

 
A signboard of the seven deities are seen on the platform of Hoshakuji Station