Friday, 1 June 2018

Kofu: City of Warring Lord

EMU JR East E353 series, limited express Super-Azusa, arrives at Kofu Station

Kofu is the main city of Yamanashi Prefecture, about 130 kilometers west of Tokyo. The urban area of Kofu City is located in the center of Kofu basin, which is surrounded by mountains as much as 2,000 meters high.

Historically, Kofu was known as the capital city of the Takeda family. Specifically, a warring lord, Takeda Shingen (1521 - 1573), is very famous among Japanese people. Shingen was not only excellent in military affairs, but also a good poet. He unfortunately died during an expedition to present day Shizuoka prefecture. Shingen's dreams, namely the unification of Japan, had not come true; however, he still stays in local people's minds. We can see a large bronze stature of Shingen in front of Kofu station. 

To get to Kofu from Tokyo Metropolis, a limited express train, Super-Azusa, is convenient. It takes less than 90 minutes from Shinjuku, a sub-center of Tokyo. A new model, the EMU JR East E353 series, was recently launched on this route. The E353 series is a successor of the E351 series. It is an express train for a 1,067 mm-wide gauge track with 1,500 V DC electric systems. The E353 series has a special air suspension type tilting system to pass through tight curves in the mountain areas keeping at high speed. The maximum operating speed of the E353 series is 130 kilometers per hour.

If Shingen had lived until today, he would be surprised at the progress of transportation technologies in the 21st century.

Takeda Shingen (1521 - 1573) bronze stature in front of Kofu station

Official information about the EMU E353 series (in Japanese):