The shinkansen is already the undisputed coolest way to get around the country, but even then, operator JR (Japan Railways) likes to occasionally add an extra dash of coolness to its bullet trains by decking them out in special salutes to beloved animated series. In recent years we’ve seen shinkansen inspired by Japanese icons Evangelion and Hello Kitty, but this month the very first Disney shinkansen will go into operation.
The highlight of JR’s Go! Waku Waku Trip with Mickey is the Mickey Mouse shinkansen, which promises a waku waku (fun and exciting) journey for passengers. Each of the train’s six cars is decorated with illustrations of the Disney mascot enjoying a summertime trip, with localized touches such as a Japanese-style watermelon and a traditional bathing basin and washcloth to be used in an onsen hot spring.
The theming continues on the inside (top photo), with a revamped interior featuring imagery of Mickey ears on the ubiquitous straw hats Japanese kids wear to keep the sun off their faces during summer vacation.
And, of course, there’s a slew of limited-edition merchandise such as pouches, notebooks, and pins with the Mickey Shinkansen artwork, which can be purchased onboard the train and in stations it stops at and adjacent shopping centers.
However, in keeping with the promotion’s campaign of exploring far afield, the Mickey Mouse shinkansen won’t take you to Tokyo Disneyland or Disney Sea. Instead, it’s ready to take you on a journey through the island of Kyushu. The special train is operated by JR Kyushu and runs along the Kagoshima route, which connects Hakata Station (located in Fukuoka, Kyushu’s largest city) with Kagoshima Chuo Station, at the southern end of the island, passing through Kumamoto along the way.
The Mickey Mouse shinkansen goes into service on May 17, and will run for an unspecified period, though given its summery artwork, we can probably expect Mickey’s high-speed rail travels to continue at least through August.
Sources: JR Kyushu, PR Times
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