The Plarail Shinkansen is no longer running.
Plarail is a Japanese toy train brand since 1959. It is not uncommon for children to own at least 1 Plarail set or similar product around the world. In Japan, of course, the success of Plarail is much more phenomenal with new products coming up every month.
The Kodama Shinkansen service is an all-station service which almost no one travels on end to end. More often than not, passengers board them only to the nearest major station to transfer to the faster Hikari or Nozomi services. To boost sales for these trains, Kodama services now have a family or children’s car attached to some trains. The newest of which, is the Plarail Car.
From the outside, this 500 series Shinkansen looks just like any other of it’s kind, except for this one sticker.
Stepping inside, you realise that this isn’t your normal train anymore.
From end to end, the facilities available in the Plarail Car are a TV area, a Plarail library, Plarail play area (with tracks and trains available for loan from JR West), Plarail diorama, a souvenir picture area and a kid’s driving simulator with live feed from the cab ahead.
Since the users of this car are usually passengers who are holding child tickets, the Plarail car is also kid-proof with foam wall panels and cushioned or rounded corners everywhere in the train.
In case you are using your own trains and tracks, JR West loaned trains and tracks are well labelled to prevent confusion.
In the event that the batteries run out in the layout, a Plarail attendant is there to keep the trains running.
Everything in the layout is also screwed down in the event of anything untoward happening to the real train.
As with many places of interest in Japan, souvenir stamps are also available on board to collect.
Location: Sanyo Shinkansen
Company: JR West
Line: Sanyo Shinkansen
Fare: Depending on distance, no extra fees with Japan Rail Pass.