Genbi Shinkansen

Enjoy art at high speed in Niigata

By Kim B    - 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.

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Kim B

Kim B @kim.b

Japan dwelling expat, living in and loving this beautiful country. Tokyo was my home for several years, but I'm now enjoying the countryside life in Niigata. Currently at 44 of 47 prefectures visited - with only Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Kumamoto left to check out!

Join the discussion

Lynda Hogan 4 months ago
I had never heard of it, thanks for sharing! It sounds really cool.
Kim B Author 4 months ago
I only discovered it because it passed through Urasa, our local station!
Sleiman Azizi 4 months ago
Every time I read an article about the shinkansen, or Japan's train system in general, I hold back tears at the state of trains in Sydney...
Sleiman Azizi 4 months ago
It's so easy to become addicted to Japanese trains.
Elena Lisina 4 months ago
I've already got it! And hope to visit Niigata sme day! :D