Japanese prides themselves in their amazing rail system, as well as the manga and anime culture which has a massive followers even outside of Japan. What happens when you combine the two?
Over the years, character trains featuring manga and anime characters and local mascots have grown to be a part of Japan’s identity. We compiled some of the best character trains that you should look out for the next time you’re in
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0.1 Gudetama Train
Hop on this egg-citing ride for the railway egg-sperience you’ll never forget!
The eco-friendly ‘Smile Train’ will be travelling through Northwest Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture. Credit: Gudetama on Facebook.
Japan’s Seibu Railway and Sanrio came together to create a special train featuring people’s favourite lazy-egg yolk cartoon character, Gudetama.
Both the exterior and interior of the train are fully decorated with Gudetama images. If that’s not enough details, even the handles are egg shaped. Credit:Gudetama on Facebook.
It’s the perfect ride for Gudetama fans! And the train will begin operating in December 2018.
02. Anpanman Train
A visit to Shikoku is not complete without hopping on the Anpanman Train. The iconic superhero is one of the best known character in Japan, so it’s only natural that he deserves a train specially dedicated to him.
The Anpanman themed train features all the characters from the manga, including his archnemesis Baikinman, comrade Shokunpanman and ally Jam Ojisan. Credit: Visit Kochi Japan on Facebook
JR Anpanman Train is a contemporary tribute to the manga creator, Takashi Yanase, who was born in Kochi, Shikoku.
Credit: JP Rail.com on Facebook
JR Anpanman Train is a contemporary tribute to the manga creator, Takashi Yanase, who was born in Kochi, Shikoku. The train runs across Seto-Ohashi bridge which connects Shikoku island and Honshu on the mainland. JR Rail Pass and All Shikoku Rail Pass are valid on the Anpanman train.
0.3. Conan Train
Detective Conan, a massively popular manga and anime series worldwide, has also been bestowed with his own character train.
Credit: mrspocksan_flyingufo on InstagramCredit:Conan fans shouldn’t miss the chance to visit Hokuei, a small town on the coast of Tottori prefecture, also the birthplace of Gosho Aoyama, the manga artist. With so many Conan themed places and things all over the town, including Conan Station, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the entire Hokuei is dedicated to the character.
Credit: mitake500 on Instagram
Similarly, Conan Train is decorated with the character and his friends. There are two trains with different designs, so be sure to catch both! Conan Train runs through the JR Sanin Line, which runs from Kyoto to Shimonoseki. The actual name of Conan Station is Yura Station, where you can board the train.
0.4 Kumamon Train
Hailing from Kumamoto, Kumamon is one of the most successful mascots in Japan. The official mascot of Kumamoto gained so much popularity nationwide that Kumamon merchandises start being sold outside Kumamoto.
Kumamoto Railways offer three trains with three different designs of the red-cheeked bear mascot, all bearing various expressions, which run through Kami-Kumamoto to Kita-Kumamoto. Credit: KUMAMON’s Kumamoto Diary on Facebook
Kumamon Train, however, is not an experience you can get anywhere else. Since it’s a regular train that is available daily, no reservation is required.
Credit: KUMAMON’s Kumamoto Diary on Facebook
05. Pokemon Train
In winter 2012, Pokemon Train With You began its operation with the objective to bring smiles again to the children in Tohoku region which was devastated by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami the previous year. After undergoing a makeover, the train was relaunched in July 2017 to bring families together.
Credit: megasword_million on Instagram
6. Hello Kitty Train
Possibly the most kawaii train ever, the Hello Kitty Shinkansen (bullet train) made its debut last June. Dressed in white and pink, the train, which makes daily round trips between Shin-Osaka Station and Hakata, aims to boost the local economy and tourism.
Credit: Hello Kitty on Facebook
The first carriage has been transformed into “Hello! Plaza” where exclusive Hello Kitty goods and watch promotional videos of various areas in Western Japan. Meanwhile, “Hello! Kawaii” room in the second carriage is a specially decorated room that also features a photo spot.
Hello Kitty Shinkansen sadly only operates for a limited time, just until September 29 this year. Passengers can ride the bullet train with a regular ticket which must be purchased in advance. Credit: Hello Kitty on Facebook
07. Tama Train
Unlike the rest, Tama is actually not a cartoon or mascot character, but actually a real cat. Designed after Tama-chan, the feline stationmaster that used to “run” a local station in Wakayama until she passed away in 2015. Her legacy, however, still lives on.
Credit: a_saku.24 on Instagram
Credit: shi_chan.poporin on Instagram
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