Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Samurai Path on the Keisei Line

EMU Keisei 3700 series travels on the Keisei Main Line

Sakura is an old city in Chiba Prefecture, some 50 km east of Tokyo. It has been developed as a major city of the Shimousa region (northern part of Chiba Prefecture) since around the 15th century. Specifically, it has prospered since the 17th century, when Sakura Castle was constructed by Load Doi Toshikatsu. Although the castle was demolished during the Meiji Restoration in the 19th century, we can still see some moats and earthworks that surrounded the castle.

Along with the castle ruins, the ex-samurai residential area is a popular spot in Sakura City. Several ex-samurai houses are still preserved and open to the public. True, it is interesting to visit those houses, but my favorite is a foot path toward the ex-samurai residential area. It is called "Hiyodori (brown-eared bulbul) Sloping Path" by local people. Hiyodori Sloping Path is just unpaved narrow stairs surrounded by a bamboo forest. It is rather dark even during the daytime. When I climbed up this sloping path, I created an illusion of passing a samurai, who was descending the slope.

To get to this historical city, the Keisei Main Line is convenient. It takes about 50 minutes from Ueno Station in the downtown Tokyo area. The EMU 3700 series is one of the main fleets on the line. This urban commuter train was launched in 1991 as the Keisei's first EMU with a VVVF-inverter (variable frequency drive) control system. You can feel comfortable on a journey to the old castle city.

 
Hiyodori Sloping Path near Keisei-Sakura Station on the Keisei Main Line
 
More information about trains on the Keisei Line (in Japanese):