On Saturday March 14th, the very first Hokuriku Shinkansen service departed Tokyo early in the morning, making its way to Kanazawa Station in Ishikawa Prefecture just before 9am. Enthusiasts were out in force to witness the event both in Tokyo and Kanazawa.
With this new regular service now up and running, Saturday's launch marks the final stage of the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension – a 228km section of track connecting Nagano and Kanazawa. The first stage saw the Takasaki to Nagano extension being completed back in 1997 (originally known as the NaganoShinkansen).
The new service now takes passengers from Tokyo to Kanazawa in 2½ hours, over 80 minutes faster than the previous time, in the newly designed Kagayaki train. This high-speed shinkansen bullet train can reach maximum speeds of 260 km/h (160 mph).