Monday, February 6, 2017

Aka-soba Field on the Iida Line

EMU JR Central 213 series travels on the Iida Line

Japanese people are soba lovers. What is soba? It is a Japanese-style noodle made from buckwheat flour. They are eaten hot in broth or cold after being dipped in a soy-flavored sauce. Soba blossoms from summer to autumn. In the blooming season, all over the soba fields change to white, because soba has myriad white colored small flowers.

In recent years, unusual soba also became known among soba lovers. It is aka-soba (red colored noodle), originally from the Himalayan Range. As its name suggests, aka-soba produces red to pink colored flowers in autumn. It is quite unique so that many people visit aka-soba fields when they blossom. In other words, aka-soba fields are precious tourism resources as well. There is a famous aka-soba field in Minowa Town of Nagano Prefecture. We can see beautiful dark pink colored carpets in September.

To get to this beautiful spot, the nearest station is Ina-Matsushima on the JR Central Iida Line. The Iida Line was originally opened by four separate private railways. It was, then, purchased and merged by the government during WWII due to wartime control. One of the fleets on the Iida Line is the EMU 213 series. The 213 series was launched by the Japanese National Railways (JNR) in 1987. After breakup and privatization of JNR, the 213 series was transferred to JR Central. It has been operated on the Iida Line since 2011 after renovation. The 213 series is similar with the 211 series, but it has only four doors per unit.

Aka-soba field near Ina-Matsushima Station on the Iida Line