Friday, June 30, 2017

Hydrangea Season on the Kawagoe Line

EMU JR East E233-7000 series arrives at Nishi-Omiya Station on the Kawagoe Line

On June 7th, the Japan Meteorological Agency announced that this year's rainy season had begun in Tokyo. From early June to mid-July, the Tokyo metropolitan area has a hot and humid rainy season called Tsuyu. Although it is a gloomy period before midsummer, it is a pleasure for me to see beautiful hydrangea flowers. There are many famous places with hydrangea blossoms in the Tokyo metropolitan area. I visited Saitama City in Saitama Prefecture with my family this year.

Nishi Ward is located in the northwestern part of Saitama City, about 40 km northwest of Tokyo. This neighborhood has recently become a residential area, but it has a long history as a rich agricultural area, where various crops including rice and vegetables are being produced. Nishi Ward also has a historical shrine, Sashiogi-Hikawa Jinja, which dates at least back to 796. In this season, we can see fully blown hydrangeas in the garden of the shrine. More than 1,500 hydrangeas are planted there. Especially, I like to view the large blue colored flowers in the garden.

The nearest station to the garden was Sashiogi on the JR East Kawagoe Line. It took about 45 minutes from Shinjuku, a sub-center of Tokyo, by a rapid service train. A green colored striped train, the EMU E233-7000 series, was our vehicle. The E233-7000 series was launched in 2013 to replace the old 205 series. Along with the Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transport 70-000 series, the E233-7000 series transports 730,000 passengers every day.

Hydrangeas are in full bloom in the garden of Sashiogi-Hikawa Shrine near Nishi-Omiya Station