Thursday, 30 November 2017

Salmon Runs on the Mito Line

JR East E531 series series stands at Tomobe Station

Salmon go back to where they were born to spawn in late autumn. They travel from the sea to their home streams, and lay their eggs in the pebbles. We can easily see salmon runs in the urban area of Chikusei City, which is located about 80 km north of Tokyo.

When I visited the bank of Gongyo River in Chikusei City last month, many local people were there to observe the salmon runs. They kindly showed me the best point for taking pictures of jumping salmon. It was a low weir in the stream, where the salmon jump and pass through. Shooting the jumping salmon was very difficult. I think taking pictures of a moving train is much easier than that of jumping salmon, as trains are operated by planned timetable. I gave up shooting the jumping salmon at the weir, and moved to a slow stream point, where I could shoot them easily.

To visit this unique salmon runs spot, the nearest station is Shimodate on the JR East Mito Line. My vehicle to Shimodate was the EMU E531 series. The E531 series was launched in 2005 as an AC-DC dual electric system train. It is mainly operated as a 15-car rapid service train with a maximum speed of 130 km per hour on the Joban Line, but it is also operated as a 5-car local train on the Mito Line. The gleaming stainless steel body with a dark blue colored stripe is an outward characteristic of the E531 series.

Salmon runs are seen near Shimodate Station in Chikusei City on the JR East Mito Line