Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Visit to the Northern Kanto City

EMU JR East E233-3000 series stands at Utsunomiya station yard

Utsunomiya is the main city in Tochigi Prefecture, some 110 km north of Tokyo. It is located in the northern part of Kanto Plain, and known as the machine and food industries city.

I often stop by Utsunomiya, when I go sightseeing in Nikko, the World Heritage site. Whenever I visit Utsunomiya, I enjoy walking in the downtown area, as there are many beautiful spots. They are quiet and peaceful. Jiko-ji temple near the prefectural government office is one such place. The large red colored gate is vivid. It is also famous for the cherry blossoms in spring.

To visit Utsunomiya, there are three railway routes from downtown Tokyo. The Tohoku Shinkansen is the fastest and most convenient route for flying passengers, but it is a bit expensive. Tobu Railway is also convenient, if you live in the eastern part of Tokyo. I often take the JR East Shonan-Shinjuku Line, as it is suitable for people who live in the western part of Tokyo. It takes 1 hour and 40 minutes from Shinjuku, a western terminal of Tokyo, to Utsunomiya without having to transfer.

The main fleet on the Shonan-Shinjuku Line is the EMU E233-3000 series, which is composed of 10 or 15 cars. My favorite is a double-decker Green Car (the first class car) in the central part of the train. Once you pay a small extra fee (780 yen), a comfortable reclining seat is provided for you. I recommend it for long distance journeys over 100 km.


Main gate of Jiko-ji temple near Utsunomiya Station