Want to take a ride on a bullet train?
You can’t quite do that from the comfort of your laptop or smartphone, but Google Street View does allow you to at least take a virtual tour of the inside of Japan’s newest high-speed train, the Hokuriku Shinkansen. An extension of the Nagano Shinkansen Line, the new train’s name derives from the name of the region, Hokuriku, and the name of Japan's high-speed railway, Shinkansen.
The new Hokuriku line opens March 14, and directly connects Tokyo with Kanazawa, which shortens the travel time from four hours to two and a half hours by train. Tickets for the opening run sold out in 25 seconds when then went on sale this past Valentine’s Day.
The train has three separate seating classes: The fancy-sounding “Gran” Class, the Green Car and the Standard Class.
The Gran Class, named after the French word for “big” according to the official site, has six rows of seats per car, with three “plush” reclining seats per row. Passengers can order blankets, drinks, slippers, an eye mask and bento boxes from an attendant.
The Green Car gives riders an integrated radio, travel magazine, more space for luggage, a footrest and more leg room than the Standard Class. The Standard Class is, well, your usual ho-hum train experience, except faster than you’re probably used to.
The new Hokuriku line was built as part of Japan’s plan to network the country with high-speed bullet trains. The plan is for the new line to eventually become an alternative link between Tokyo and Osaka since the Tokaido line is the only that connects Japan’s two largest cities. The idea is that this new Hokuriku line will provide an alternative route should an earthquake ever sever the connection between Osaka and Tokyo. However, it’s unknown when this new alternative connection will be built.
You can view a short behind-the-scenes video about Google capturing these shots inside the train here:
Photo: Google Japan | YouTube