An Illustrated Guide to Train Journey’s Trains
Between Tokyo and Kanazawa
The E7-Series Shinkansen operated by JR EAST and the W7-Series Shinkansen operated by JR-WEST, both of which have been fitted with GranClass cars, made their debut on the Hokuriku Shinkansen on March 14, 2015 to service the extension of that line between Nagano and Kanazawa. The E7-Series, which appeared just slightly earlier than its W7-Series counterpart, was originally in use on the Nagano Shinkansen between Tokyo and Nagano from March 15, 2014. This series entered service on the Hokuriku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Kanazawa. Both the E7-Series and W7-Series trains are comprised of twelve cars. Cars No. 1 through 10 on trains on the side facing Tokyo consist of standard cars. Car No. 12 on the side facing Kanazawa consists of a GranClass car, with Car No. 11 serving as a green car. GranClass service provided by attendants will commence on these trains (with some exceptions).
Thanks to the opening of the extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen between Nagano and Kanazawa, the distance between Tokyo and Toyama and that between Tokyo and Kanazawa can be respectively traversed in two hours, eight minutes and two hours, twenty-eight minutes at maximum speed, a material improvement in travel times compared to before the extension. A variety of trains are in service between those destinations. The “Kagayaki” express train only offers reserved seats. The “Hakutaka” train, which stops at stations between Tokyo/Nagano and Kanazawa, offers unreserved seats in a portion of its standard cars. The “Tsurugi,” a shuttle-type train that runs between Toyama and Kanazawa, offers unreserved seats in its standard cars Nos. 1 through 4, reserved seating in its standard cars Nos. 5 through 7, and a green car for Car No. 11.
Sports an exterior design that expresses a sense of speed and dauntlessness and the colors ivory white on its body, sky blue on its front end, and copper on the stripes that envelop the car.
Incorporates the beauty of Japanese construction and deeply-lacquered colors to create a space with an unmistakable sense of high quality and roominess. Offers electric reclining chairs with a maximum tilt of about 45 degrees.
The decoration walls of the GranClass deck sport design panels themed after the four seasons. You will feel uplifted the moment you step onto the deck.
Traditional design aesthetics and modern touches come together to form a space that gives off an aura of calm and dignity. The car is fitted with reclining seats that have an interlocking seat back and surface.
Incorporates checkered seats and rich colors to give off an air of cheeriness and enjoyment. First standard car on a Shinkansen to include electric sockets in all of its seats.
A multifunction bathroom that accommodates electric wheelchairs, a washroom and other amenities have been placed around the multipurpose room found in Car No. 7.
Itoigawa is the first city in Japan to be designated a “global geopark.” It contains twenty-four geosites intended to preserve valuable “geological treasures” and local culture and nature.
The name “Unazuki” in Japanese was inspired by the sentiment behind this area to make it a “land illuminated by a bright moon” that rivals Uji and Nara. Known for the esthetic effect of its hot water and how it produces smooth, beautiful skin, the Unazuki Hot Springs area contains rows of large hotels and Japanese-style inns.
Toyama Castle was the domain of samurai Narimasa Sassa during the Sengoku era and that of the Maeda Family that founded the Toyama Domain during the Edo period. In 1954, the Toyama Municipal Folk Museum was built in the castle keep to teach visitors about the history of the castle.
This settlement contains rows of thatched-roof homes made in the authentic gassho-zukuri (“palms pressed together in prayer”) style. Both the Ainokura Village and Suganuma Village, which exhibit the gassho-zukuri style and are located in this settlement, were registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
This giant Buddha statue is said to be one of Japan’s three major such statues, the other two being in Nara and Kamakura. The product of twenty-six years of the best in copperware manufacturing techniques that the local area had to offer, the statue now represents a symbol of Takaoka.
This historic streetscape is lined with teahouses that sport beautiful lattice-bay windows called kimusuko. Around the same time the door lamps are lit, the sounds of shamisen guitars and taiko drums can be heard from the teahouses.
Text and photos by: Yoshiyuki Kekke, travelogue
Certain photos courtesy of: Itoigawa City/Toyama Prefectural Government/Toyama City/Takaoka City/Kanazawa City/Kotsu Shimbun Service
*Data contained above is as of April 2015.