As iconic as cherry blossoms, Mount Fuji and geisha, Japan’s shinkansen bullet trains are now being made available as unique venues for business events and groups.
On December 15, 2022, the president of Central Japan Railway Co announced that Nozomi-class bullet trains can be chartered, in part or entirely, for the approximately three-hour one-way trip between Tokyo Station and Shin-Osaka Station.
Groups can reserve a single car or, for a large event, the entire train. A car typically has 100 seats and a Nozomi – which means “wish” or “hope” in Japanese – can pull up to 16 carriages, including two first-class cars.
Travelling at speeds of up to 300kmh, carriages can be equipped with television monitors and audio equipment, while clients can also arrange to have seats fitted with personalised head-rest covers that can be retained as souvenirs.
Client groups are also able to advertise within the carriages, while groups will also be waved off at their point of departure and welcomed at their destination by station staff bearing personalised banners. The rail firm will also roll out a red carpet inside trains for VIPs.
A limited selection of drinks and light snacks can be served on the route from the trolley service that is typically operated on Nozomi trains, although the company said consideration would be given to permitting catering facilities.
Reservations for the service can be made through JTB Corp, Japan’s largest travel agency, or JR Tokai Tours, the railway firm’s affiliated travel firm.
When asked how much an experience would cost, JTB declined to confirm the cost of hiring a carriage or an entire train, although an official did tell TTGmice that the cost of chartering an entire car “would definitely be lower than the cost of buying all the seats in the car”.
Japan Railway anticipates that the new service will prove popular for incentive and corporate training events, while the space could also be adapted for music, sports and even fashion-related events.