JR East are expanding the number of stations that accept Suica cards on the Chuo Main Line that connects Tokyo with Nagoya and the Shinonoi Line in Nagano Prefecture. The service will be expanded on the route between Shimpu Station in Nirasaki City, Yamanashi Prefecture and Matsumoto Station in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture. Stations on this route that do not currently accept the card will do so from next April, and other stations that currently accept the card for limited services will expand their range of usage.[Read more…]
Craft beer fans will be delighted to know that Kitauchi Brewery have opened a new beer bar at Tokyo Station. The “Hitachino Nest Brewing Lab” has ten varieties of Hitachino Nest Beer on tap, and a special limited edition “Tokyo Station Beer” to celebrate the new bar’s opening on December 1st.[Read more…]
JR East are moving into the accommodation business with a new hostel for train enthusiasts in Tokyo. Called the “Train Hostel Hokutosei” the new hostel will utilize bunks and cabin fittings from the now defunct Hokutosei sleeper train. Designed by the OpenA architectural firm the Train Hostel will be directly attached to Bakurocho Station in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward.[Read more…]
JR Kyushu have released interior design details and images for their new sightseeing train the “Kawasemi Yamasemi”. From next spring the two carriage train will run between Kumamoto Station and Hitoyoshi Station making three round trips every day. The route of the train follows the course of the Kuma River which winds through a scenic forested landscape.
The carriage interiors are inspired by this landscape and will be decked out with cypress and cedar wood taken from the Hitoyoshi/Kuma region. A large part of the timber for this train was actually donated free of charge by the local lumber industry.
The train is named after two species of kingfisher which inhabit the mountains and valleys of Kyushu, so the train’s badges will prominently feature images of these birds. [Read more…]
Tokyu Corporation have released new details and images of their ongoing redevelopment program in the Shibuya Station area. A new tower block in the Shibuya Station South area is to be named “Shibuya Stream” and its grand opening has been set for autumn of 2018. The company hopes that the new building will act as a new cultural hub in an area that links flashy Shibuya with the more elegant Daikanyama district.
The 180 meter tall Shibuya Stream will be largely occupied by offices on its upper levels from the 14th to the 35th floor. However, on the lower levels there will be a commercial area with around 30 shops and restaurants and a Tokyu Hotel. [Read more…]
JR West have announced a new station numbering system on 12 lines and 300 stations in the Kansai area of western Japan. The new system is scheduled to begin in March of 2018.
In 2014 JR West introduced alphabetical letter codes and distinguishing colors to their route line maps. The plan to number stations is part of the company’s long term commitment to making JR West railways more user friendly for foreign travelers. Numbers will be added to stations on the 12 lines in the Kansai region that are traveled most by foreign passengers. [Read more…]
JR Kyushu’s Aru Ressha, also called the “Sweet Train” has an unusual and rather complicated history. It is said that back in 1906, Kyushu Railway (a private company) commissioned the construction of a gorgeous luxury passenger train from a company in America. Apparently the train was built and sent to Japan, but before it could begin operations Kyushu Railway was nationalized and all plans for the train were cancelled. The train, which never ran, passed into legend and became known ever afterward as the “train of dreams”.[Read more…]
JR West have announced plans for a series of renovations at Osaka’s Tennoji Station. The station’s East Gate Concourse is to be completely renewed with new walls, floors, and ceilings, and fitted with LED lighting. The changes are intended to make the station both prettier and more convenient.
Many railway lines converge at Tennoji so the concourse will also be fitted with new signage in both Japanese and English to make it easier for passengers to find their way around. Additionally the station’s toilets are to be replaced with new state-of-the-art Western style toilets, and fitted with “washlet” style bidets throughout. The concourse’s 500 meter square shopping area will also be renovated and reinforced to make it earthquake resistant.[Read more…]
Earlier this month Odakyu Railway unveiled designs for the next generation of their famous Limited Express Romancecar series of trains. The Odakyu Romancecar series has been providing luxury high speed access between Tokyo and resort areas such as Hakone, Izu, and Enoshima since 1957.
This newest #70000 series “Red Romancecar” has a distinctive vermilion exterior that hearkens back to the traditional coloring of the earliest Romancecars, and has more seats with improved visibility through larger windows. [Read more…]
Kyoto Railway Museum opened their very first special exhibition this month with a nostalgic look back at the history of the Japanese Sleeper Train.
“The Sleeper Train” exhibition is divided into five main sections. The first section details the early history of the sleeper train in Europe and the Americas starting with the pioneering invention of the world’s first sleeping car by America’s Cumberland Valley Railway in 1838. [Read more…]