The exterior of the Genbi Shinkansen (Photo: Fancy Free / CC BY-SA 2.5)

Genbi Shinkansen

Enjoy art at high speed in Niigata

The exterior of the Genbi Shinkansen (Photo: Fancy Free / CC BY-SA 2.5)
Kim   - 2 min read

There's no arguing that Japan's public transport network is one of the world's best, and shinkansen travel is an extremely efficient way of getting from A to B. If you want to go one better than simply getting from A to B, however, a ride on the Genbi Shinkansen is a must. Operating from Echigo Yuzawa Station to Niigata Station in Niigata Prefecture with several stops in between, this shinkansen is a high-speed art gallery, showcasing a range of works from both Japanese and international artists. The works displayed on board have an overarching theme of harvests, festivals, and light.

If you do find yourself getting peckish during the journey, head to the cafe car where you'll find a range of Niigata-based eats and drinks available for purchase. Some of the specialties include a vanilla cake made with rice flour from Uonuma and butter from Sado Island, and Tsubame Coffee from Tsubame Sanjo.

Parents with children may be wondering how family friendly this shinkansen may be, given that it is essentially a moving art gallery. There's no need to worry - on board you'll find an entire train carriage decked out as a kids play room, with toy trains and tracks to keep the little ones occupied with.

With all of the art, eats, and activities on board, be sure that you don't miss out on the natural beauty passing you by out of the train windows! The route winds through some incredibly idyllic scenery which differs greatly through the seasons, including mountains and rice fields.

Getting there

The Genbi Shinkansen operates from Echigo Yuzawa Station to Niigata Station, with stops at Urasa, Nagaoka, and Tsubame Sanjo Stations.

As this is a specialty shinkansen, it only runs on certain dates which are predominantly weekends and public holidays. The full list of operating dates can be found on the JR East website here.


Kim @kim.b