Monday, 7 July 2014

Cherry-picking Season in Yamanashi Prefecture

EMU JR East 189 series, "Holiday Rapid" arrives at Ootsuki Station on the Chuo Main Line
Yamanashi Prefecture, some 100km west of Tokyo, is a kingdom of fruits in Japan. Grapes and peaches have been well known major products for some time; but, recently, Sakurambo (cherry) has also become a reputable fruit in this prefecture.

Cherries are my favorite fruit in early summer. They are sweetish and slightly acidic. They are lovely, rounded and shining fruit, and the red-colored ripened fruits are very beautiful backed by the light green leaves on the tree.

I visited a local farm in Yamanashi Prefecture with my family at the end of last week. Although the cherry-picking season was almost over, we could still get a pile of cherries in the basket. There are good crops this year because of the good weather.

JR East operates special trains for cherry-picking travelers each weekend in this season. Rapid trains, "Irodori Yamanashi Sakurambo" (set number N201 of the EMU 485 series) and "Ozashiki Yamanashi Sakurambo" (set numbers G6 and G7 of the EMU 485 series) offer convenient access to cherry farms, but it is difficult to get reserved seat tickets for these trains. So, we always take a standard train, "Holiday Rapid" (EMU 189 series) on the Chuo Main Line. Although the Holiday Rapid train does not have luxury facilities, the 189 series provides us with comfortable reclining seats. It is good news for passengers that JR East doesn't charge a premium price for this train.

Cherry-picking season in Yamanashi Prefecture is my annual fun time.

Riped cherries are seen on the Chuo Main Line