Saturday, 4 April 2015

2015 Sakura Season on the Takasaki Line

EMU JR East 651-1000 series passes through Miyahara Station on the Takasaki Line 

Sakura (cherry blossoms) season has come in the Tokyo metropolitan area again. We can see beautiful faint pink blossoms here and there. Tokyoites are feeling the herald of spring now. With so many cherry blossom viewing spots available, it's hard to select which one is the best. After wavering, I headed to Kumagaya City in Saitama Prefecture last weekend.

Kumagaya is an inland city along the Arakawa River. This city is famous for its National Treasure, Shodendo, in Kangi-in Temple. Apart from the National Treasure, a long row of cherry trees on the bank of Arakawa River is reputable as a sightseeing spot in the city. They were supposed to bloom gloriously with beautiful flowers this season... but, most of the trees had not come into flower yet, when I visited there on the last weekend. Instead of the reputable spot, I visited Kumagaya Central Park, where an early-blooming cherry was seen. It was a small tree, but I could enjoy graceful branches with flowers in full bloom. Spring has come!

To get to this cherry blossom viewing city, please take the JR East Takasaki Line and get off at Kumagaya Station. It takes about one hour from downtown Tokyo. During my journey, I came across a limited express train, Kusatsu, the EMU 651-1000 series at Miyahara Station. The 651 series was once retired from the Joban Line, but came back onto the track
 under the name of the 651-1000 series in 2014 after a full renovation.
Cherry blossoms are seen in the Kumagaya Central Park near Kumagaya Station
More information about limited express train, Kusatsu (in Japanese):