Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Nip of Fall in the Chichibu Area

EMU Seibu 10000 series, New Red Arrow (NRA), heads to Seibu-Chichibu
It is still a bit hot in the daytime in Tokyo even though October has come. I must escape from the city and visit a cool piedmont on a weekend like this. My next destination will be the Chichibu area of Saitama Prefecture to see Aki-no-nanakusa. Chichibu is located 70km northwest of downtown Tokyo. It is a quiet suburban area within the Chichibu Mountains.

What is Aki-no-Nanakusa? It means the seven representative autumn flowers in Japan including bush clover, golden lace, kudzu, large pink, boneset, Chinese bellflower and silver grass. They are small and tiny, but their simplicity has been very much admired by Japanese people.

Among these, I found a beautiful bush clover flower community. They are dark pink and white-colored small blossoms planted in the garden of Dosho-in Temple. Blowing in a gentle autumn breeze, they were swinging slowly. Autumn is only just around the corner.

To visit the Chichibu area, Seibu Railway is convenient. Seibu is one of the major railway companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Seibu operates limited express trains using special EMU, the 10000 series. The specification of this train is rather old in this day and age, but it is still Seibu's flagship model called New Red Arrow (NRA). The NRA is a 7-car train, which was launched in 1993. A total of 12 sets, 84 units, have been manufactured so far by Hitachi, Ltd. I am fond of the NRA, because the reclining seat is cushioned adequately enough for comfort.

Full-blown bush clover in Dosho-in Temple in the Chichibu area