JR East, East Japan Railway Company, will launch the world’s first bullet train with onboard foot spas staring 19th July.
Japan’s bullet trains have been known to lead the global transportation sector in speed and technology. Thanks to JR East, the Japanese can also add traveling in style to their repertoire.
The bullet train, named Toreiyu – a combination of the English word “train”, the French “soleil” and “yu”, the Japanese word for hot water –will have one car with two 2.4-metre-long foot spa tubs facing windows and also a car with a bar counter and tatami-mat flooring with tables made from cherrywood.
Toreiyu will make one round trip per day on weekends on the Yamagata Shinkansen Line between Fukushima city, capital of Fukushima Prefecture, and Shinjo, Yamagata Prefecture, roughly a two-hour journey. It is part of a campaign to promote tourism in Yamagata, a farming area known for rice, beef, cherries and pears. According to JR East, the ceiling and the back of the passenger seats will be decorated with reliefs of cherries, a specialty Japanese people firmly associate with Yamagata Prefecture.
Soaking in hot water is a ritualised and extremely popular leisure activity in Japan. The footbaths are intended for passengers to relax with, rather than to clean their feet. Each footbath can be used by four people at once and the tubs are built on a raised stone platform, so passengers can easily take in the scenery rolling by outside the windows.
The foot spa car is connected to an “after bath lounge car” with a bar counter, and then three tatami mat cars. A standard reserved seat car makes up the rear.
Tickets for Toreiyu are now on sale at JR ticket offices across Japan.