Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 59 (Back cover)

New Japanese Railway Scenery 19
Yokosuka Line

JR East’s Yokosuka Line runs between Ofuna and Kurihama in Kanagawa prefecture near Tokyo. The section between Ofuna and Yokosuka opened in 1889 with the intention of transporting military goods to naval forces in Yokosuka. It was extended to Kurihama in 1944. The Ofuna and Yokosuka section was double-tracked in 1913 and electrified in 1925. Through operations from Tokyo began on 15 March 1930 with the Yokosuka Line using the tracks of the Tokaido main line between Tokyo and Ofuna. The initial plan to install double tracks on all sections did not materialize because of WWII, so the section between Yokosuka and Kurihama remains single track to this day. Direct through operations on the Tokaido main line were discontinued in 1980 when a nearby freight track was vacated to become new track for the Yokosuka Line, alleviating pressure on the Tokaido main line that was over-capacity due to suburban development. Through services now operate on the Sobu Line (to Chiba), the Tohoku main line (to Utsunomiya), and the Takasaki Line (to Takasaki).

Hatsumode at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is a shrine in Kamakura, Kanagawa. It was founded in 1063 when shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo asked Iwashimizu Hachimangu shrine in Kyoto to divide their tutelary deity for enshrinement at Kamakura. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu was moved to the current location in 1180 and expanded in the Edo period (1603–1868). Today, it is a popular tourist destination. The photograph shows waves of people making their ceremonial first visit to the shrine (hatsumode) on New Year’s Day.

Photo: Series E217 running on Yokosuka Line between Hodogaya and Ofuna (JR East)
Crowds making first visit to shrine on New Year’s Day (Tsurugaoka Hachimangu)