While out the other day at Ikspiari, Maihama, next to DisneyLand, I found a store that specialized in model railway parts, bus models and generally all types of accessories connected with JR Railways.
Amongst the items I particularly liked was this old fashioned manual sign changer to show the different destinations for the Shinkansen.
There are many images that define this unique train series as it has advanced through the years, having originally started operation in time for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games.
This sign changer is a strong image I have from my first trip on a Hikari Shinkansen many years ago.
I also picked up a model of the 0 series Shinkansen (０系) which went into service in 1964. In December, 2008 the final train in this series was decommissioned in favor of newer models.
A fellow tweeter gave me a tip off for a great magazine special on Japan Railways. Thank you to @tamuro for this great information. The magazine is called pen and is published by Hankyu Communications. The edition with the Japan Railways special is the June 15 2009 release, No 246. (Is that a coincidence for Shibuya Route 246 or what?)
The magazine article spans about 50 pages and has some great photos of the trains, stations, museums for trains, train restaurants, old books, tickets, eki-bento, scale models, music scores for the station melodies and much much more including an official station cat at Tama station in Wakayama.
This magazine special covers so much and has so many great pictures, even if you cannot read the Japanese you will really enjoy this.
This train looks fantastic, almost European in style. I am certainly going to put this on my list of trains to try in Japan.
Some of the quiz questions on the right ask,
Q. “When did the Yamanote line start service?”
A. (1) 1872, (2) 1874, (3) 1880, (4) 1885
Do you know the answer?
Did you know the Yamanote line is 34.5km in distance. How many minutes does it take to cover that distance?
Another page from the magazine looks at the history of the Shinkansen series and explains the difference in all of the models.
The magazine would make a great collectors item, and can be found both at convenience stores and book stores. The cost is just YEN 600, which for 178 pages of high quality is real bargain. If you want a copy and cant find one, let me know and I will try and organize.
Here are some of the other goodies I picked up including Yamanote line sticky tape, note book, Shinkansen fridge magnets, small key ring chain, memo pad, and model train
One of the symbols of Japans sudden growth and its “economic miracle” of rebuilding after the war, was the Bullet Train. The Tokyo Olympics in 1964 was a chance for Japan to showcase its developments in many fields.
If Tokyo is successful in its bid for the 2016 Olympics, I wonder what technological marvels will await us and will become part of the brand that is Japan.