Shinkansen dipping toes into footbath service in northeastern Japan


Rail Update Japan

JR East has released the Yamagata Shinkansen " Tsubasa" exterior design.

Travelers on the Yamagata Shinkansen Line will be able to soak their tired tootsies starting this summer, without even getting off the bullet train, according to East Japan Railway Co.

E3 Toraiyu

  • An artist’s rendition of a Toreiyu train car with footbaths on the Yamagata Shinkansen Line

The rail operator said March 4 it will introduce in July an excursion train equipped with footbaths on the high-speed service between Fukushima, capital of Fukushima Prefecture, and Shinjo, Yamagata Prefecture--roughly a two-hour journey.

Dubbed “Toreiyu,” the six-car train will feature a car with two footbath tubs, a lounge car with a bar counter, a standard seat car, and three tatami-matted passenger cars. “Yu” means bath in Japanese.

E3 traiyu tables

The train has been redesigned from the E3-series Shinkansen, which is retiring from the Akita Shinkansen Line, and can carry up to 143 passengers.

Each footbath can be used by four people at once. As the tubs are built on a raised stone platform, passengers can easily take in the scenery rolling by outside the windows.

E3 bar counter

According to the operator, the ceiling and the back of the passenger seats will be decorated with reliefs of cherries, a specialty of Yamagata Prefecture.

The extra-service train will run for 120 days or so annually, mainly on holidays and weekends. All seats require reservations.

  • a lounge car with a bar counter

E3 Traiyu sheets

Photo: East Japan Railway Co.

This article appeared in the Asahi Shimbun Digital on March 5, 2014. We thank the publisher, Asahi Shimbun-sha, for granting us permission to present the article.


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