Posts Tagged ‘shinkansen’

Marketing push for Hokkaido Shinkansen blasts off

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Some of the new items promoting the Hokkaido Shinkansen.

Some of the new items promoting the Hokkaido Shinkansen.

Japan’s famous shinkansen bullet train is known around the world for its speed, efficiency and safety. Currently, people in Tokyo can take a bullet train all the way to Fukuoka on Kyushu island or to Aomori, at the northern tip of Honshu. But now the high-speed train network is taking it to the next level by extending its reach to Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, letting consumers go from Tokyo Station to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station in about four hours.

As Japan gets ready for the start of the new Hokkaido Shinkansen on March 26, many companies are launching marketing tie-ups — with some odd results. Here are a few of the campaigns on the fast track.

Tomix train set

New train toys modeled after the Series H5 Hayabusa? No brainer.

Tomix’s set comes with all 10 cars, and the interior can even be lit up. If you’d like to buy it outside of Japan, there are sets being sold on eBay.

Suntory beer

One of the best parts about riding bullet trains in Japan is being able to eat food on public transportation without judgment — huzzah! Ekiben, or train lunch boxes, are a given. Like a beer with that? No problem.

Let the conductor be the designated driver as you can pop a can or three of Suntory’s beer — same taste, new design. If beer is not your thing, Co-op Gurana is repackaging its soda with the Hayabusa train as well.

Lotteria meal

Fast food chain Lotteria is famous for creating food that could kill you, but this time they’re putting it inside a cute Hayabusa box.

A Shinjuku branch is selling meals wrapped up in the Hokkaido Shinkansen train that comes with a rib sandwich, fries and a drink. The meal won’t cost as much as a train ticket though as it’s only ¥1,000 and is available until May 31.

Calbee potato chips

Snack king Calbee is also taking a bite out of the shinkansen commotion with a line of bullet Hokkaido-inspired chips.

Calbee has three new flavors for potato chip fans — onion and salt, seaweed and mentaiko, and garlic and mayonnaise. The company has never shied away from strange new flavors, including its tuna-corn-curry flavor. If you can’t stop eating these addictive chips, you can always keep the bag shut with a Hayabusa stapler.

Acecook Ramen

It may take four hours to get to Hakodate, but it will only take a few minutes to warm up Acecook’s newest ramen.

The two instant noodles come in salt or soy flavors. The packaging also features the official Hokkaido Shinkansen mascot, Dokodemo Yuki-chan (Anywhere Snow-chan).

McDonald’s pie

The only thing faster than the Hokkaido Shinkansen is the food at McDonald’s. The venerable chain is releasing a line of sweets with nods to Hokkaido’s farming and dairy culture.

For a limited time, customers can buy its Hokkaido Milk Pie, a fluffy croissant filled with gooey goodness. It’ll also be packaged in a signature purple color to match the stripes on the Hayabusa train.

Sapporo Snow Festival

And bringing this marketing blitz back to where Hokkaido, this year’s Sapporo Snow Festival was decked out in ads featuring the new shinkansen line. There was even a huge snow sculpture shaped like a Hayabusa train that was lit up at night.

As the Hokkaido Shinkansen will be extended from Shin-Hakodate to Sapporo Station in 2030, the Sapporo Snow Festival — and Hokkaido itself — is bound to get a jump in tourists as more and more people head north.

First-class train designs

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Train geeks are in for a treat next year. From March 2011 it will be possible to ride in splendid style from Shin-Osaka to Kagoshima in a new N700-7000 series of Sakura shinkansen created especially for the route.

The plush new carriages of the new Sakura trains are the work of designer Eiji Mitooka, who has a long track record for creating sumptuous, award-winning train designs. The video above gives a sneak peak inside the new rolling stock of the Sakura, showing just how much care and attention has been put into this new line. One of the most striking features is the use of real wood throughout the train, which gives the carriages a lovely warm, natural feel. Nikkei Trendy reports that the feeling of luxury goes up a notch in the Green Car (the Japanese equivalent of first class), where the carpet and seat coverings are decorated with a traditional leaf pattern.

Last year Mitooka unveiled an even more elegant carriage design for the 800 series Kyushu shinkansen. As with the Sakura project, the materials used were not cheap: leather-covered seatsgold-leaf partitions between carriages; and real wooden armrests and tray tables. My favorite, though, is the phone booth, which has a noren hanging in the entrance for privacy. Mitooka clearly loves traditional Japanese arts and crafts and tries to weave these elements into modern design as much as possible.

Mitooka is also responsible for the redesigning of Kishi Station, which was completed this summer.  The Wakayama Pref. station became famous throughout Japan due to its feline station master. Tourists flock there to catch a glimpse of  the calico cat Tama, who greets visitors wearing her special cat-size station master’s hat. Mitooka has run with the cat theme by creating a new thatched roof that resembles a cat’s head, with two stained-glass windows for eyes. Local craftsmen were employed at considerable expense to create an authentic thatched roof, which is usually seen in shrines and temples. It is indeed the cat’s meow.

Pulsations (09.20.10)

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

  • Eikaiwa Underworld: Lessons Taught, Lessons Learned (from Japan Subculture Research Center): Repeat after us: “Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”
  • Paying and Avoiding NHK (from Mutantfrog Travelogue): Tired of NHK knocking on your door from NHK? Click on.
  • The Lead Poisoning Thesis (from Frog in a Well): Did toxic makup reeeally contribute to the fall of the Tokugawa regime? Do tell.
  • Addictive ads (from Pink Tentacle): Pre-Don Draper advertising in Japan: “Defense for country, tobacco for society”
  • The Premium Pricing “Problem” (from Néojaponisme): Japanese are renowned for paying top dollar for imported luxury goods, but is it their fault?
  • Modern Times (from Ampontan):  The Terminator needs Japan’s support for the California bullet train project, but should a country be lending money it doesn’t have to a “deadbeat subnational government”?
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