Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Historical Shrine on the Keio Line

EMU Keio 8000 series travels on the Keio Line

Fuchu City is located in the western part of Tokyo Metropolis, some 30 km west of the downtown Tokyo area. It has a population of 260,000, which is the third largest among 25 cities in Tokyo Metropolis. There are several symbols in Fuchu City, such as Tokyo Racecourse for horse racing and the open-air folk museum, "Native Forest", but it must be remembered that there is a historical symbol in this city, namely Ookunitama Shrine.

Ookunitama Shrine was said to be established in 111, when God descended to earth, but it is probably just a myth. The first historical evidence of this shrine appeared in 645, when it was designated as a site of religious ceremony for the local government. Since then, the shrine has been maintained as a holy site surrounded by the forest. When I visited there recently, I saw many worship-visitors even though it was a cold morning.

To get to this historical shrine, I took the Keio Line from Shinjuku Station. It took just 20 minutes to Fuchu by limited express train. The Keio Line is one of the main transportation arteries in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The track gauge is unique... 1,372 mm. The stylish commuter train, EMU 8000 series, is my favorite. Specifically, I like the modulated sound of the VVVF inverter (variable frequency drive) electric control system of the 8000 series. It is a bit noisy, but has a nostalgic sound of the trains built in the 1990s.


In the meantime, Keio Electric Railway recently gave a press release announcing that the new model, EMU 5000 series, will debut in 2018. It will be a 10-car train with multi-purpose seats, which the conductor can change from a long seat to a cross seat using a remote control. So, the 5000 series will be used as both a standard commuter train and a reserved seat train, depending on the timetable.
 
Main gate of Ookunitama Shrine near Fuchu Station on the Keio Line