Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spring in Full Bloom: The Itsukaichi Line

EMU JR East E233 series stands at Haijima Station on the Itsukaichi Line

It is mid-spring in Tokyo. I visited the countryside of Tokyo Metropolis with my family at the weekend. Our destination was Otsu Hana-no-sato (Otsu Flower Village), where we can enjoy beautiful spring blossoms here and there. It was the best season to see cherry, weeping cherry, azalea and canola flowers. The field was filled with blossoming colorful plants. Specifically, the ground of Ryushuin temple was a paradise-like hill. Spring is in full bloom.

To visit this flowery neighborhood, please take the JR East Itsukaichi Line and get off at Musashi-Itsukaichi terminal. The Itsukaichi Line was opened in 1925 by ex-Itsukaichi Railway Company. Connecting Haijima on the Ome Line and Musashi-Itsukaichi, there are 7 stations over the total operating length of 11.1 km. The track is a 1,067-mm-gauge single track and the electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead.

From an operational point of view, the Itsukaichi Line is a branch route of the Chuo Line. JR East's standard commuter train, the EMU E233 series (a 6-car train with a vermillion colored stripe), is operated every half an hour on average. This E233 series is same as the Chuo Line train. Direct trains between the Chuo and the Itsukaichi lines are operated at the end of each week for holidaymakers. Different from the Chuo Line, passengers have to push the manual operation button when they get off at stations, as the Itsukaichi Line is a local route in the countryside. The door operation is not provided by the conductor.

Ryushuin Temple near Musashi-Itsukaichi Station on the JR East Itsukaichi Line