Thursday, March 23, 2017

Old Plum Grove on the Sobu Main Line

EMU JR East 209 series arrives at Naruto Station on the Sobu Main Line

There are many fully blooming plum groves in the Tokyo metropolitan area now, so, I couldn't make up my mind which one to choose for visiting next to the Kairakuen plum garden in Ibaraki prefecture. Eventually, my family chose a plum grove in Sakata castle ruins as our next destination.

Sakata castle ruins are located in Chiba Prefecture, about 90 km east of Tokyo. As its name suggests, this site was a castle in medieval times. It is said that the Chiba family, a regional powerful clan, constructed the castle in the middle of 14th century. Currently, the site of the castle is changed to farmland. Specifically, local people have been cultivating plum trees for a long time for fruit to eat. When we visited there, white plums were in full bloom. The visitors were enjoying the last days of the 2017 plum blossoms season as freely as they liked.

To get to this old plum grove, we took the JR East Sobu Main Line, and got off at Yokoshiba Station. The Sobu Main Line is a trunk route connecting Tokyo and Choshi stations (120.5 km). The EMU 209-2000 and 2100 series are main fleets in the eastern section between Chiba and Choshi stations. These models debuted in 2009 to replace the old commuter trains such as the 113 and the 211 series. There are 4-car and 6-car trains. The square stainless-steel body with yellow and blue colored stripes is characteristic as the JR East's local train in Chiba Prefecture.

Plum grove near Yokoshiba Station on the Sobu Main Line