Tuesday, 24 May 2022

The Advent of Spring on the Hachimantai Plateau

Ki 115 of the snowplow Ki 110 series is exhibited in the Kosaka Rail-Park

Japanese take about one straight week of holidays during so-called "Golden Week" starting from the end of April. The spread of COVID-19 was lessening, so, I headed to the Tohoku District (Northeast district of Japan) with my family using this year's Golden Week. Our destination was Hachimantai, some 570 kilometers north of Tokyo. It's a volcanic plateau at an altitude of about 1,600 meters, and a part of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park. We found high walls of snow on the Aspite line, which is a sightseeing road running through the plateau. The road was closed during the winter because of heavy snowfall. The snow walls were cut surfaces recently created by road snowplows. The walls were "artistic", and beautifully shinning backed by the spring blue sky.

After going down the snow road, we stopped by Kosaka Rail-Park at the foot of the plateau. It's a railway theme park where the rolling stock of the ex-Kosaka Railway are exhibited. The Kosaka Railway was a mining railway abolished in 2009. Of all the exhibits, among the brightest was a green-colored snowplow, Ki 115 of the Ki 110 series. It's an old Russel snowplow for single track, built in 1935 by Hamamatsu Plant of the ex-Railway Ministry. We can see large snowplow wings on both sides of the vehicle. Ki 115 doesn't have a source of power, so, a locomotive pushed from behind, when it was mobilized.

We enjoyed both the snow walls and the snowplow on the happy day off.

Snow walls on the Aspite line (a sightseeing road running through the plateau)