Because the best way to celebrate the arrival of a fast train is with a serving of fast food.
After 10 years of construction, the first Shinkansen bullet train service to Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido is set to make its inaugural trip on 26 March this year. The new route will run between Shin-Aomori Station on the Japanese mainland and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto via the underwater Seikan Tunnel, making the journey in an hour and shaving up to 80 minutes off the trip from Tokyo, which currently stands at five-and-half hours by train.
While there’s been a lot of hype in the media about the new service, there’s been just as much interest in the new model of Shinkansen that will be ferrying passengers under the Tsugaru Strait. Called the H5 series, the new train features the same shape as the E5 series currently used on the Tohoku Shinkansen line. With a green top and white lower half, the two colours are separated by a line of purple, to symbolise the lilac, lupin and lavender farms that Hokkaido is famous for.
The attractive colours and sleek design make the train a perfect model for some good-looking merchandise and tie-in promotions. One of the first to get on board with a collaborative marketing campaign is national fast food chain Lotteria, who has created the “Hokkaido Shinkansen H5 Series Set” in honour of the train’s inaugural journey.
On sale from 12 March to 31 May at 26 Lotteria outlets in Hokkaido, the set retails for 1,000 yen (US$8.50) and includes a medium serving of fries, a medium-sized drink and a Pork Rib Sandwich.
What makes the set extra special is the unique box that the sandwich comes served in. Modelled on the H5 series shinkansen, the cute packaging features the same details found on the real train, which is sure to be popular with rail enthusiasts around the country. In addition, customers can choose one of three specially designed files to go with each set.
Limiting sales of the set to the Hokkaido region is a great way to encourage train fans from the mainland to make the journey up north to get their hands on one of these unusual, limited-edition sets. And now that there’s a beautiful new train to take them there, they won’t need any prompting!