In a bid to revitalize tourism in the Niigata region, JR East are introducing a special shinkansen service this spring on the Joetsu Line that runs between Niigata Station on the coast and inland Echigo-Yuzawa Station.
Several carriages of the new bullet train will be fully dedicated to art appreciation, with one side of the train being giving over to a gallery of contemporary art. Called the “Genbi Shinkansen” the name “Genbi” means “contemporary beauty” and it has already been dubbed “the world’s fastest art experience”.
Contributing artists have been announced as Nao Matsumoto, Brian Alfred, Yusuke Komuta, Kentaro Kobuke, Haruka Kojin, the Paramodel art unit, and photographer Naoki Ishikawa. Mika Ninagawa’s photographs of Nagaoka fireworks have been used to decorate the exterior of the train. The artists hope to make best use of the space with interactive art that contains “story” and “trick” elements. One carriage will also periodically change its exhibition, and host irregular performance art surprises.
There will also be a café on board the train, and sweets, cakes and pastries created by renowned patissier, Romi Igarashi. Passengers will be treated to a full sensory experience with modern art installations on one side, breathtaking scenery from the windows and all while enjoying fresh roasted coffee and cake!
The Genbi Shinkansen is scheduled to debut on April 29th 2016, with services mainly on weekends and holidays. With the world famous Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale festival held every three years in Niigata’s Tokamachi city, the introduction of this new train should cement Niigata’s reputation as a leading center of contemporary art creation.
— ＴＺ (@sayakawa3838) January 5, 2016
The Genbi Shinkansen has already been spotted by several Twitter users on trial runs running through northern Japan.
Article by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.