The priceless expression on one dog’s face as he was carried off a train platform in Japan has us in stitches.
East Japan Railway Co (JR East) will introduce a numbering system for all its stations in Tokyo starting in October, in a bid to to facilitate navigation for foreigners traveling within the capital ahead of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
After these passengers got stranded, they walked the rest of the way in such a precise line they practically became a train themselves.
Earlier this year, nearly 1,200 rail stations in Japan chose to ban the use of selfie sticks in reaction to the dangers of users not paying attention to their surroundings and the general nuisance caused by the photo-snapping peripherals in crowded areas. Now, East Japan Railways, Japan’s largest train operator, is taking aim at another problem: people walking through the station while staring at their smartphones instead of watching where they’re going.
But while you can ban selfie sticks and only ruffle the feathers of tourists and other leisure-oriented train passengers, millions of people rely on their smartphones during their daily commute to keep in touch with family, coworkers, and clients. So instead of prohibiting them, East Japan Railways has started a campaign to remind people not to use their smartphones while walking, and the reminder is so gentle that you can put it in your butt.
Japanese often say that a good view makes a meal taste better, so it goes without saying that a cute-looking lunchbox would also enhance the contents inside. From meals served in Shinkansen-shaped containers or rabbit-faced boxes that can be reused as coin banks, to lunch boxes that play music or have collector’s items hidden inside, Japan’s ekiben take Japanese food to a whole new level.
Today we’d like to tell you about “Ekiben”, a little book by Aki Tomura which introduces the best and most unique train station lunch boxes in Japan. We’ve chosen just a few to highlight from this gorgeously photographed, pocket-size book. The word Ekiben is a combination of two Japanese words: eki (station) and bento (lunchbox), so make your next train trip a gourmet ride with these bento available at various JR stations—just waiting for you to buy, smile, and devour.
Let the fun begin!
With Japanese society’s overlapping loves of photography, smartphones, and social media, it was only a matter of time until selfie sticks took the country by storm. They’re an especially common site at tourist destinations in the country, since no proper Japanese journey is complete without commemorative photos taken of the group posing with the most famous local attraction, Shinkansen, and possibly whatever the local culinary delicacy is.
But as of this weekend, there are 1,195 places where you’ll see plenty of travelers but not a single selfie stick: the train stations of western Japan, which have prohibited their use.
Now that the Attack on Titan exhibit has wrapped up in Kyushu, it’s moved on to its next stop, Osaka.
Somewhere along the way, however, the titans and military decided to stage a battle in the middle of Osaka’s central train line, or rather, the train line’s bathrooms. On a mission to remodel some of the not-so-popular toilet facilities located inside five of the stations on the Osaka Loop Line, the bitter enemies are working together for the first time to clean things up.
In movies, there’s never anything good hidden in the earth under a structure. It’s all Native American burial grounds, Egyptian mummies, and other assorted other corpses of non-specific ethnicities.
In real life, though, there are all sorts of desirable things waiting beneath the surface, such as oil and gold. An excavation crew in Kobe was looking for something just as good as those two valuable commodities, though: a hot spring, and they found one right in the heart of the city.
Imagine you’re taking the train home from work at 7 p.m., finally getting to leave after being there for almost twelve hours. You can’t wait to just eat some dinner, relax, and then get some much-needed sleep.
But then bam! The train stops and the electricity goes off. You’re stuck, and you’re not getting home for a long, long time.
That’s exactly what happened on August 4 to many passengers in the Tokyo/Yokohama area. An accident shut down entire lines, affecting over 350,000 people’s commute home.
What caused it, you ask? The answer may be a single high school student and his friend’s bag.
It seems so easy to plan an entire Japan vacation around a single tour of the Tokyo metropolitan area. The mega city has just about everything a tourist could possibly want to see, from Akihabara’s blinding neon to the breathtaking skyline of Yokohama, to the quiet, old-world charm (and weird poop sculpture) of Asakusa.
But to not venture away from Tokyo, to Japan’s more far-flung and lesser-known destinations is to rob yourself of the grander Japan experience, and Japan Rail (JR) has long sought to encourage visitors, both domestic and foreign, to wander off the beaten path with the Seishun 18 unlimited rail pass. And, if the idea of unlimited access to JR’s vast and far-reaching network of tracks isn’t enough to inspire your sense of adventure on your next Japan visit, perhaps these ads for the Seishun 18 rail pass, which depict the isolated beauty of some of Japan’s most remote train stations, will be.
Greg Cope and Ken Mitchell have been riding Japan’s railways for over 30 years. “When I first started to travel around Japan,” recalls Greg, “I was struck by the fact that Japan not only has one of the most efficient railway systems in the world, but they have myriad types of railways, from new to old, conservative design to outlandish.”
On one of Greg’s succeeding trips back to Japan, he asked his train aficionado friend Ken, who had seen a lot of Japan during a visit in 1967, to come along. “I devised an itinerary…incorporating a variety of different trains. The trip that I had nutted out from the timetable turned out well and I was hooked on Japan’s railway system,” says Ken.
Greg and Ken wanted to share their Japan rail experiences with others, so to achieve this goal they started Trainaway Tours out of Australia in 1998. These guys are living the train otaku dream, so when RocketNews24 started looking into Japan’s best, most scenic railways, we went straight to them for recommendations. From JR lines to small private rails, tourist trains to steam locomotives, let’s look at their picks for the top 10 train trips in Japan.
If you’ve ever visited Japan, surely you’ve ridden on at least one of the many Japan Railway (JR) train lines, where you probably noticed the serious and stoic faces of the company’s conductors and staff. So it might be hard to imagine that JR Kyushu has it’s own very energetic, award-winning yosakoi dance oendan, or cheering squad, that frequently competes in some of the biggest yosakoi traditional dance festivals around the country.
This past weekend the JR Kyushu Oentai performed and won the top prize at the Sapporo YOSAKOI Soran Festival in Hokkaido (Japan’s northern-most island), and as soon as footage and pictures of their performance hit the internet, Japanese netizens were abuzz about just how cool the group looked.
Many people who have spent time in Japan have stories of someone doing something really nice for them out of simple kindness. Such encounters range from getting a bag of onions from a shop owner to receiving an umbrella from a stranger, while standing in pouring rain (both true stories). Even on the job, workers’ kindness and sense of duty to show such consideration comes through in the form of outstanding customer service.
Such was the case in Chiba Prefecture last week when two junior high school students got on the wrong train and were about to be late to one of the most important tests of their lives: the public high school entrance exam. Thanks to some kind Japan Rail staff, they made it— although, we’re not sure if they passed.
Wassup young people, I’m speaking your language today to tell you about to totally tubular deal from JR Kyushu! They’re offering some super-rad discounts of up to 40% off on train fares around the island of Kyushu for a seriously limited time.
It’s called the Gachi Ticket, where “gachi” is a new word the kids in Japan are using that’s hard to translate to English but somewhere along the lines of “for realz!” and “aww psssht it’s on!”
Valentine’s Day in Japan is an all-chocolate affair, as millions of women around the nation stock up on the sweet treats for their friends, partners and colleagues. Lately, women have even been extending the offering to the inanimate world, with handsome anime characters receiving large amounts of gifts from their fans.
Now it seems someone in Japan may have developed a soft spot for a train on the Tokyo Chuo Line as chocolate was found to be the cause for a door jam that delayed commuters during morning rush hour on the most romantic day of the year.
Nagoya District Court ruled on August 9 that the family of a man with dementia who entered a railway line and consequently died after being hit by a train must pay compensation to the Japan Railway (JR) Group. The court concluded that the measures the family put in place to prevent the 91-year-old from wandering off by himself were insufficient.
Many couples strive to plan a perfectly unique wedding. From nonconventional backyard ceremonies to destination weddings in far off places, there is no limit to the delightfully strange and creative ways people tie the knot. However, JR East is giving one lucky couple the chance at a wedding most people have probably never dreamed of.
Ever wanted to cross Japan by rail but hate the idea of being stuck on the train, watching the scenery flash by without ever being able to get out and experience it? Today we’re going to let you in on a little secret few foreigners are aware of so you can explore further, without having to pay extra for the privilege.
We can’t decide whether this is the cutest or creepiest thing we’ve ever seen. This train, which transports passengers to the Asahiyama Zoo in Hokkaido, Japan includes a carriage with a children’s play area and stuffed animal seats. Zoo-goers can snuggle up with pairs of owls, reindeer, wolves, giraffes, polar bears, and many more.
On 13 May, JR Central released station design plans for their upcoming Chuo Shinkansen running from Tokyo to Nagoya and later Osaka. In the words of JR, these stations were designed “not to rely on traditional styles” and “to boldly pursue functionality and efficiency.”
However, when the details emerged to a train station loving public, the reaction was less than enthusiastic with comments along the line of “too bold.”