HOKUTO, HOKKAIDO – Lucky people selected through a lottery got the chance to ride a bullet train on the Hokkaido Shinkansen Line on Saturday, ahead of the March 26 opening of the new high-speed rail link that will connect to the main island of Honshu.
The first train taking part in the two-day event departed Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station in the morning with 600 passengers on board and made a return trip after arriving at Kikonai Station 12 minutes later.
The train reached a speed of 260 kilometers per hour.
“I couldn’t sense the train was traveling as fast as 260 kilometers per hour,” said Keisuke Echizen, a 36-year-old corporate employee from Furubira, Hokkaido, who rode the train with two other family members. “The Shinkansen offers a more comfortable ride than a plane,” he added.
Yoshinobu Osaka, a 50-year-old farmer from the town of Nanae, also in Hokkaido, said he wants to use the Shinkansen line for leisure trips. “It enables a day trip to Aomori,” which is on the Honshu side, he noted.
Hokkaido Railway Co. said that in the test-ride event, a total of five round trips on the H5 series cars will take place between Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto and Kikonai. Of the over 28,000 people who applied, 3,000 will get to ride the trains.
The fastest Hokkaido Shinkansen trains will connect Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Stations in four hours and two minutes, with a one-way trip costing ¥22,690.