Tuesday, May 3, 2016

2016 Sakura Season in the Chichibu Area

EMU Seibu 9000 series travels on the Ikebukuro Line
 
Even if Someiyoshino (a kind of cherry) blossoms fall, the other kinds of Sakura (cherry) start blooming in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Yaezakura (double cherry) is a famous Sakura blooming after Someiyoshino. As its name suggests, Yaezakura has double petals. Their pink color is darker than those of Someiyoshino.
 
My favorite spot to view Yaezakura is Mt. Hodo in the Chichibu area, which is located about 90 km northwest of Tokyo. In late April, the foot of the mountain is wrapped by a dark pink color. After the sunset, we can also enjoy yozakura (viewing cherry blossoms at night), as it is beautifully lit up.
 
To view this gorgeous Yaezakura, please take the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line to Seibu-Chichibu, then transfer to the Chichibu Railway to Nagatoro, the nearest station to Mt. Hodo. One of the major fleet on the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line is the EMU 9000 series. It is the final model of the yellow colored train on the line. The 9000 series was launched in 1993 reusing the old equipment of the retired 101 series. So far, a total of 8 sets, 80 carriages have been built by the Seibu Tokorozawa Factory.

Due to reusing of equipment from the old train, the specification of the 9000 series was rather old. Seibu Railway converted the old rheostatic electric control system into the latest VVVF inverter (variable frequency drive) system from 2004 to 2007.

Boarding on the yellow colored traditional Seibu train, I could visit the traditional Sakura viewing spot comfortably

Full blooming Yaezakura is lit up at the foot of Mt. Hodo in the Chichibu area