An Illustrated Guide to Train Journey’s Trains
Between Tokyo and Hakata
The N700-1000 series of Shinkansen bullet trains (which are commonly called N700A trains, with the “A” standing for “Advanced”) incorporate the results of research development dating back to N700 models. The series made their debut as new cars added to the N700 series that managed to reduce travel times between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka by five minutes through being equipped with a newly-developed car-body tilting system that utilizes air springs for bogies. In order to realize safer and securer levels of transport, the N700-1000 series has also equipped with central fastening brake discs that boast stability and greater breaking power, a bogie vibration detection system for perpetually monitoring the state of all bogies, and a fixed-speed travel device for more stable driving while following ATC signals. Moreover, with the 1000 series, the N700 series underwent an overhaul with an uncompromised emphasis placed on passenger comfort. Those changes were applied to elements ranging from the cars’ interior to the control of feeble vibrations.
Additionally, the N700A has evolved into a state-of-the-art car whose environmental functions are cutting-edge as well. Such functions include the use of LED in the bathrooms and washrooms to reduce power consumption for in-car lighting by about approx. 20% relative to the preexisting N700 series.
Trains utilizing the N700A have entered service as of February 8, 2013 with “Nozomi No. 203” leaving Tokyo Station at 7:00 AM and the “Nozomi No. 208” leaving Shin-Osaka Station at 7:00 AM.
In addition to the new sound-absorbent floor construction employed in the N700 series, the Nozomi’s Green Car is equipped with new vibration-suppression panels, another in the series of elements that help realize a pleasant in-car environment that makes for a quiet and comfortable ride.
The synchronized comfort seats offered in Green Cars are equipped with high-luminosity LED reading lights on the pillow area as well leg warmers on the feet area.
Standard cars employ a new sound-absorbent floor construction that helps realize a quiet and comfortable interior space. Seating in these cars also incorporates new reclining seats with a greater feeling of support for the head area.
Odd-numbered cars are equipped with a large-sized bathroom that includes a baby bed (with the exception of Car No. 1) as well as a standard Western-style bathroom. Car No. 11 is equipped with a multi-purpose bathroom that accommodates passengers in wheelchairs and ostomates.
This functional conductor’s cab is equipped with monitors that provide a grasp of the train’s status. Newly-included ATC equipment operates the car-body tilting system employed when the train is navigating curbs.
N700A-series loading cars are equipped with new central fastening brake discs that realize stable, stronger braking power when the train is being driven at high speeds.
A head temple of the Jodo Sect that has comparable standing with Chion-In. Once the temple became the headquarters of the Military Commissioner of Kyoto, it has functioned to honor the memory of warriors from the Aizu Domain who perished in the Battle of Toba-Fushimi.
The head temple of the Omuro School of Shingon Sect of Buddhism whose abbot was a member of the Imperial Family, this temple was also once called Omuro Imperial Palace. On its premises is the Kondo Main Hall, which has been designated a National Treasure. The temple has been collectively registered as a World Heritage Site.
Chion-In is a head temple of the Jodo Sect whose sanmon gate is counted as one of The Three Greatest Gates in Kyoto. Standing at 24m tall and 50m wide, the gate is the largest currently-existing wooden temple gate in Japan.
With a height of approx. 55m, the Toji Pagoda is the tallest pagoda in Japan, and is visible from the outside of the Shinkansen as well. Registered as both a National Treasure and a World Heritage Site, it is a symbolic existence of Kyoto’s 1,200 years of history.
The abdication of the Emperor Hanazono marked the foundation of this temple as the headquarters of the Myoshinji School. Its scripture house, which is typically not open to the public, houses an octangular rotating shelf that contains 6,500 scrolls of Buddhist scripture.
A former nunnery that is also called “The Temple of Camellias,” this temple can only be visited several days during the spring and fall seasons. More than thirty species of camellia trees, including March camellia with an age of upwards of 300 years, bloom profusely here.
This shrine of learning is associated with Michizane Sugawara, also known as “Kanko.” It was built with Kanko enshrined within based on the belief that doing so would keep the country safe. The location is famous for its plum trees, and hosts a plum blossom festival on every February 25, the anniversary of Kanko’s death.
“Yudofu,” or tofu hot pots, are a renowned dish in the neighborhood of Nanzenji Temple, the head temple of the Rinsai Sect of Japanese Buddhism. A wealth of yudofu shops in the vicinity of the temple ensure that visitors taking a stroll in the area during winter can warm themselves up with a tasty tofu hot pot.
Text and photos by: Yoshiyuki Kekke, travelogue
Certain photos courtesy of: KYOTO design/Kotsu Shimbun Service
*Data contained above is as of February 2013.