Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Old EL and Old Cultural Properties in Fukuoka Prefecture

Electric locomotive Class ED76 passes through Togo Station on the Kagoshima Main Line

Along with Nara, Fukuoka Prefecture has many cultural properties. Last month, I visited a famous spot, Munakata-taisha Shrine in Fukuoka Prefecture to see triangular-rimmed copper mirrors made in the 3rd century.

Munakata-taisha is a complex of three shrines. I visited the largest shrine, where the triangular-rimmed copper mirrors were exhibited in the attached Treasure Museum. These mirrors were found on the offshore isolated island, named Okinoshima, in 1954. They were probably used for religious ceremonies. There were very fine emblems and patterns on the back side of the mirrors... beautiful!

To get to this historical shrine, JR Kyushu trains are convenient. The nearest station is Togo on the Kagoshima Main Line. When I got off at the station, I saw a freight train pulled by a dark red-colored electric locomotive (EL), the Class ED76. 

The ED76 was launched in 1965 by Japanese National Railways. It is a 20,000 V alternate current EL with an axis arrangement of Bo-2-Bo (UIC notation). The main objective to introduce this new model was to reinforce transportation capacities on Kyushu Island. A total of 139 units have been built by Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electronics over 12 years. Most units have already retired from the tracks, but more than 10 units are still operated on Kyushu Island. I was very happy, as I came across this precious alternative current EL.

I enjoyed seeing the old electric locomotive and the old cultural properties on Kyushu Island.

Munakata-taisha Shrine