Hayabusa bullet train hotfoots it up Honshu

Hayabusa bullet train hotfoots it up Honshu

Japan’s newest Shinkansen enters service, linking Tokyo with Aomori
Hayabusa Shinkansen
The new Hayabusa Shinkansen can hit 300kph.

Come Tokyo’s hot and steamy summer, residents and visitors alike will be thankful to the train nerds at JR East for rolling out their new super-fast, bottle-nosed Hayabusa (Falcon) Shinkansen bullet train and pointing it toward Aomori at the northern tip of Honshu.

The Hayabusa is making waves across Japan, as it's due to be gunned to a top speed to 320 kilometres per hour next year, making it officially Japan's fastest train – a mighty accolade in the land of the Shinkansen.

Even folk not in need of a cool weekend getaway are sure to appreciate that the 675-kilometer trip along the newly opened Tohoku Shinkansen Line has been sliced to just 190 minutes.

Apart from a false-alarm emergency stop en route and one Tokyo train enthusiast falling onto the track – he escaped unhurt – Saturday’s maiden journey went swimmingly, making the national TV news and just about every newspaper in Japan.

Anyone keen on riding the turquoise, pink and silver train that’s ‘Made In Dream,’ as JR East’s idiosyncratic English dubs it, can climb aboard for a one-way price of ¥16,970 ($206) in the equivalent of coach class or splash out ¥26,360 ($320) on one of 18 ‘Gran Class’ seats, which are modeled on airline business class.

And if you’re not in Japan, keep your eyes peeled for news of the appearance of Shinkansen technology on a railway near you – the train companies have the backing of Japan’s government in a drive to export the speedy locomotives to the rest of the world.

Former Europe, Japan and Australasia Editor Mark Hiratsuka is an Irish-British journalist with a background in sports, technology, travel and science writing, occasionally all on the same page.

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