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JR News: Fukushima’s travelling cafe train “FruiTea Fukushima” to retire in December 2023

JR News: Fukushima’s travelling cafe train “FruiTea Fukushima” to retire in December 2023

East Japan Railway Company (JR East) has announced that the FruiTea Fukushima (フルーティアふくしま Furūtia Fukushima), a cafe-themed sightseeing train running in Fukushima Prefecture, will retire in December 2023, due to aging of the 719-series train carriages.

 

Fruity desserts on board the FruiTea Fukushima. (Image credit: JR East / Carissa Loh)

 

Mainly running along the Ban-etsu West Line, the FruiTea Fukushima made its debut in April 2015, to coincide with the Fukushima Destination Campaign. Fukushima Prefecture is known as a “fruit kingdom”, producing much of Japan's fruits—including grapes, peaches, apples, and pears. 

 

The train’s name comes from combining the words "Fruit", the main ingredients used for the desserts that can be enjoyed on board, and "Tea", which evokes the image of a "cafe", the basic concept of this train.

 

The FruiTea Fukushima’s concept is a travelling cafe train. (Image credit: JR East / Carissa Loh)

 

One of JR East’s dining trains, the FruiTea Fukushima has a concept of "travelling cafe train". On board, passengers can savour uniquely crafted desserts and beverages made with local Fukushima fruit, while gazing at the picturesque countryside scenery from the train windows. The dessert menu changes every month, letting travellers sample the best fruit that the current season has to offer.

 

When it started in April 2015, the FruiTea Fukushima made two round trips per day plying the Ban-etsu West Line between Kо̄riyama Station (郡山駅) and Aizu-Wakamatsu Station (会津若松駅). In 2019, the service was extended to cover between  Kо̄riyama Station and Kitakakata Station (喜多方駅), with one round trip per day. During the winter months (December to February), the train travels along the Tohoku Line between Kо̄riyama Station and Sendai Station (仙台駅).

 

The FruiTea Fukushima will welcome its 50,000th passenger this month. (Image credit: JR East / Carissa Loh)

 

This month, it is expected that the FruiTea Fukushima will welcome its 50,000th passenger, and to celebrate, passengers riding the train between January to March 2023 will receive specially designed “Thank you for 50,000 passengers” cookies.

 

The train is slated to make its final regular service sometime in December 2023. Further information regarding the exact date of the final service, limited edition merchandise, and farewell events will be announced once the details have been confirmed.

 

How to ride

The FruiTea Fukushima’s packages can only be booked online, via JR East’s website. With the announcement of the train’s retirement, it is expected that seats will fill up fast, so we recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.

 

Route of the FruiTea Fukushima. (Image credit: JR East)

 

Routes:

  • Regular (April–November): Kōriyama ↔️ Kitakata on the Ban-etsu West Line 
  • Winter (December–March): Kōriyama ↔️ Sendai on the Tōhoku Line

Price (one-way): 

  • ¥5,200/adult (Kōriyama to Inawashiro)
  • ¥5,700/adult (Kōriyama to Aizu-Wakamatsu)
  • ¥5,900/adult (Kōriyama to Kitakata)
  • (Winter) ¥6,700/adult (Sendai to Fukushima)
  • (Winter) ¥7,300/adult (Sendai to Koriyama)

Booking limit: Minimum one pax / maximum four pax per booking
Booking deadline: 3 days before departure
Note: The FruiTea Fukushima is a package-only train. You will not be able to board this train with just a rail pass. Seat can only be reserved online via JR East’s dining trains booking website.

 

Header image credit: JR East

 

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