The cherry blossom season has just finished and beautiful fresh green season will coming soon around Tokyo. I went on hiking with my female friends to see peach blossoms in Yamanashi prefecture, next to Tokyo. As I wrote the blog before, Yamanashi is famous for fruit agriculture such as peach and grapes (Please read the blog: A Bit Lonesome Story of Plum Trees in Ome City) . The peak season of the blossoms had passed , but we still enjoy them another week or so.
My first experience of getting on an unique “Ozashiki” train
Our destination was “Shimpu-Togenkyo” in Nirasaki City and what we were most looking forward to this trip was getting on a joyful train called “Ozashiki Togenkyo Panorama Train”! Do you know the meaning of “Ozashiki”? Surprisingly, the inside of the car is a room with tatami-mats! You need to take off your shoes when you enter the inside. The train is used for group travels for schools, companies and organizations, so that individual passengers normally cannot get on it. However, the train is operated for them ONLY during the peach blossom season on a few weekends in April (The operation dates are slightly different by year, so you need to check the schedule every year on JR East website). Although we were not aiming to get on it at first, we found out the special train is the best one to arrive at the destination at a good time. How lucky we are!
We got on the train at Shinjuku Station and there were a few passengers other than us, because the weather wasn’t good and we had rain in the morning. Our seats were face-to-face style, and it seems completely a Japanese room at home. We enjoyed chatting over breakfast which we brought all the way to Anayama station where we got off and watching the changing view from large car windows. It was almost 2-hour train trip, and it was really exciting and fun, so we didn’t want to get off the train until the last station…
Welcome to deep-pink world in Yamanashi
According to weather forecast, the weather was supposed to be better by the time we arrived at Anayama station, unfortunately, it was raining and stopping from time to time. Though the weather was not fine, the scenery of peach blossoms was so pretty. It seems like a painting in a picture frame with vivid pink color of peach blossom, yellow of rape flowers in front of mountains. The peach blossoms in “Shimpu-Togenkyo” is a bit later than other areas in Yamanashi, and the area has a ruin of the last castle by Takeda family, one of famous Japanese samurais (Sorry, we didn’t visit there this time because we totally lost our motivation to go up by seeing long and steep stone stairs at the entrance…) Anyway, we kept walking for 2 hours, about 8-9 km while chatting to our goal, an Onsen facility called “Yu-pool Nirasaki”.
It was before 1 o’clock in the afternoon when we reached and there are few people inside of the facility. The Onsen water is colorless and transparent with bicarbonate salt / chloride and its texture is a little thick and slimy. I slightly worried about their business situation because of the small numbers of visitors despite the daytime on Sunday, but we could relax in bathtubs very much as a result. Our body kept warmth for a while due to Onsen containing salt in the water.
Then, we went back to Tokyo by express bus after having a late lunch at an Italian restaurant near the facility. For your information, there are lots of express bus routes between Tokyo and other cities in Japan. In case you go to suburb cities around Tokyo for 1 day-trip, express buses are quite useful and take you to a destination directly. Moreover, the fare is usually cheaper than that of trains, you may travel economically if you use express buses well!!