Posts Tagged ‘trains’

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.


Recent Posts

  • J-blip: Ipsa’s Face Melody

    Every face has a name, a story and . . . a song? That’s the idea behind cosmetic company Ipsa’s newest creation. We should, uh, take it at face value, but the company claims that its Face Melody program can measure the user’s appearance and write a unique tune based on their attributes. The application […]

  • Japan celebrates the GIFs that keep on giving

    GIFs — which stands for graphics interchange format, don’t you know — have made the Internet an even more enjoyable place than before, and we have the receipts to prove it. These digital designs were technological wonders back in the days of AOL and Netscape (Google it, kids). But they eventually went from high-tech animation […]

  • Smart absolutions: Send off your sins with just one click

    The two-step method to purification.

  • Attack of the plant hunters, green carnivores and fleshy girls

    Never promised you a rose garden, but how about a fleshy plant or a stag-horn fern?

  • Make 12th-century art using 21st-century tech

    The Choju-Giga, the famed animal caricature ink paintings displayed Kyoto’s Kozan-ji Temple have been captivating people for centuries. The four scrolls, which date to the 12th and 13th centuries and depict rabbits and monkeys getting into mischief, are often cited as the first manga comics in Japan’s history. Now art lovers can create their own […]

  • Fuji Rock bound? Make sure you survive in style

    A few items that will help you stay dry and happy during Fuji Rock Festival’s unpredictable weather.

  • Pokemon ages ungracefully with middle-aged ‘Ojisan Monsters’

    “Ojimon” is a new mobile game where players can catch middle-aged pocket monsters and make them do their bidding.

  • The new face of Japanese beauty products

    A wise woman once said that beauty is pain, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. With designer face masks, even the simple act of skin moisturizing can become fun. Face masks rose to popularity after the 2011 Korean BB Cream craze. Over the past four years, the “lazy girl” alternative to […]

  • Dominique Ansel caters to Tokyo’s (semi)sweet tooth with cronuts and s’more

    Long queues will mark the spot where Dominique Ansel wil be serving a vast array of creative desserts and, of course, his famed Cronut.

  • Load up YouTube because it’s morphin’ time!

    Summon your Megazord because the Power Rangers are heading to YouTube — and it’s all in Japanese. “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” was a hit children’s show back in the ‘90s that featured campy acting, ridiculous monsters and possibly the best theme song of all time. It was actually based on the long-running “Super Sentai” TV […]