Friday, February 24, 2017

Tea Plantation on the Hachiko Line

EMU JR East 205-3000 series travels through tea plantation on the Hachiko Line

The western part of Saitama Prefecture is famous for its tea plantation. The product is well known as the brand name of "Sayama-cha (Sayama-tea)" among Japanese people. Sayama-cha is a kind of green tea, that is known for its strong taste, which is probably because the leaf of Sayama-cha is thicker than that of other brands of Japanese green teas, such as Uji-cha and Shizuoka-cha.

We can see open tea plantations along the JR East Hachiko Line, specifically near Kaneko Station in Iruma City, about 55 km northwest of Tokyo. I like to see a train traveling through the green colored tea plantations backed by a clear blue sky. It is very beautiful and photogenic. The Hachiko Line was fully opened in 1934 by Japanese Government Railway. Connecting Hachioji, a western suburb of Tokyo, and Kuragano in Gumma Prefecture, the route length is 92 km. The track is mostly single. The gauge size is 1,067 mm. The southern section between Hachioji and Komagawa is electrified as a commuter line, while the northern section between Komagawa and Kuragano is an un-electrified local line.

One of the fleets on the Hachiko Line is the EMU 205-3000 series. It was operated on the Yamanote Line in the downtown Tokyo area and was transferred to the Hachiko Line in 2005 to replace the deteriorated EMU, 103 series. Currently, a total of 5 sets, 20 units, are operated on the Hachiko Line. The stainless-steel bodies are recognized by their orange and green colored stripes.

JR East 205-3000 series arrives at Kita-Hachioji Station on the Hachiko Line