Let´s experience a footbath in Shinkansen-Toreiyu-
You don´t know Toreiyu? JR East Japan Railway´s new Shinkansen that has a footbath where you enjoy dipping your feet while you travel. Nearly 40 years ago, they were excited to have a buffet in Shinkansen and now they have Ashiyu (足湯/ foot bath).
By the way, the name Toreiyu is a made up word, mix of train and soleil, the sun in French. This is the face of the Shinkansen at Fukushima station with our special reporter, Ms.Kowalik.
The Toreiyu runs between Fukushima and Shinjo station in Yamagata prefecture. The trip takes 2 hours and a little. Since it´s short many people make a day trip after having a short walk in Shinjo. In case of Ms.Kowalik, she stayed one night in an Onsen (温泉) town to enjoy full hot bath.
This is the inside the passenger wagon. Each seat has a fixed table and you feel like you are in a tea salon. The seat is made of Tatami.
On the ceiling, there are wood panels decorated with the relief of fruits, which are one of the main products of Yamagata prefecture.
It´s totally a Japanese style and you don´t get the stress from the travelling through the journey.
Wagon 15 is the lounge. There is a bar and a tatami space where you can sit and meet people.
There is a showcase where you can buy product from Yamagata. The wall is painted in dark and the floor is made of stone panel. It looks all elegant.
In the bar, there are selections of sake from also Yamagata where is one of the best rice producers in Japan. Without doubt, you can have the best sake and remember, you are in the Shinkansen.
It´s hard to see but these bottles are huge enough to impress you.
On the side of the bar, there is a tatami space where you can sit comfortably and enjoy your sake.
The table is made of cherry blossom tree. Tatami looks big enough for me to lie down… I´d be tempted, don´t you?
This reminds me a Ryokan (旅館/ Japanese traditional inns). I still can´t believe this is inside the train. Ms. Kowalik looks quite happy.
OK. No more teasing. Let´s get into the Ashiyu (足湯/foot bath) wagon.
The tabs are surrounded by wooden fences and black walls, which makes you feel like an open-air onsen. And the red tabs remind you that you are actually in an futuristic Shinkansen. Only the difference of onsen is the view outside of the window. You will definitely enjoy the beautiful nature and cities of Tohoku.
At the entrance of the bath, there is a train attendant, however, she is wearing a uniform like a ryokan assistant. By now, you must have completely forgotten I´m showing you a train trip.
She leads you to the footbath. After every customer, she will clean everything spotless. So you can just sit and dip your feet into the warm water.
There are two tabs and four people can sit at the same time. Since the journey is only two hours and a little, the bath time is limited to 15 minutes. Your ashiyu time will be shown in your train ticket.
I was wondering what would happen when the train stopped suddenly or went through a sharp curve. According to Ms. Kowalik, they have used a special system in this tab and it absorbs the waves. Of course the water swings, but until a certain height. So, you won´t get wet every time the train stops.
Toreiyu only runs weekends and seems to be booked out most of the days already. Ms. Kowalik could only reserved on the way and came back with a normal Shinkansen. But she was lucky to be able to book in the last minute. Thank you, Ms.Kowalik!
Toreiyu will run during the short period of time. If you are in Japan, try now! And if you are not in Japan, fly to Japan, now and tell us your unique experience!
Here is the JR´s website : HERE (in Japanese)
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