Let’s vote! 7 virtual tours led by JR East’s train crew
Can’t quite scratch that travel itch to Japan? Great news, we’re bringing Japan to you—this time with the help of some friends! Following the great success of The Japan Rail Fair 2020 (TJRF 2020), we’ve roped in our colleagues in the various train depots of JR East to plan and conduct their own virtual tours for the upcoming TJRF 2021 in October. Who better to lead these tours than our friendly JR East train depot colleagues who work and live there?
Get up-close and personal with seven different teams of JR East train crew with their proposed virtual tours around their respective cities and local train lines! With great effort and enthusiasm, the seven teams have each presented their proposals in the form of a short teaser video, giving you a glimpse of their favourite local hangouts and hidden gems—some proposals even come with food samples or DIY kits for a hands-on experience, which are included in the tour package for registered participants.
This series of virtual tours are designed to give rail enthusiasts a more exclusive and immersive experience, so scroll down to watch the seven teaser videos and decide who would you like to meet this TJRF 2021! Are you ready?
Presenting: An overview of the 7 virtual tours
(Image credit: Afiq / JR Times)
1. Let’s enjoy the countryside!
Presented by: Hachinohe Train Depot
(Video credit: Hachinohe Train Depot)
We work in Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture, which is about 3 hours away from Tokyo by Shinkansen. It is a land with abundant nature and a lot of delicious seafood. On this virtual tour, join the members of the Hachinohe Train Depot for a barbecue with delicious seafood, local specialty Senbei Jiru (rice cracker soup), and Japanese Sake by the beautiful Tanesashi Coast—where the greenery meets the sea. Let's enjoy the relaxing countryside life of Hachinohe together!
- Hachinohe City: Introduction and Access
- Hasshoku Center: Food market
- Hachinohe Shuzo Sake Brewery and “Hassen” Japanese sake
- Tanesashi Coast: BBQ, talking, and kanpai *LIVE*
What you will get: Virtual tour and a 300ml bottle of “Hassen” sake
2. A Train Conductor’s Life in Fukushima
Presented by: Fukushima Train Depot
(Video credit: Fukushima Train Depot)
Have you ever imagined what it’s like to be a train conductor? If you’re interested in railway or being a conductor, this is the perfect opportunity to get to know us and experience what it is like to be a conductor! On the tour, you can virtually drive an actual train along the beautiful countryside of Fukushima Prefecture with us! We are also excited to show you the best way to eat our local food. This tour will show you a new side of Fukushima that you’ve never seen before, so let’s enjoy a fun time together. We are sure that you’ll feel like a part of our team after the tour!
- Meet the crew, virtual train driving experience *LIVE*
- Breaktime: Soba lunch at a local standing soba shop
- Coupling process of the Tsubasa Shinkansen
- After work: Cooking tempura
- Folk craft: Kokeshi doll
What you will get: Virtual tour and a traditional Kokeshi doll
3. JOYFUL TRAIN X COLOURFUL KATSUURA
Presented by: Chiba Train Depot
(Video credit: Chiba Train Depot)
We work in Chiba Prefecture which is located right next to Tokyo. In our tour, we will be introducing Katsuura City in Chiba Prefecture. B.B.BASE is a Joyful Train that specialises in bicycle travel. Of course, we'll be boarding this train. In our virtual tour, we'll show you the stylish interior and amazing facilities of B.B.BASE! We would like to recommend Katsuura, where the cycling paths are well maintained. There are many things we would like to introduce, such as SUP fishing and SUP yoga in the clear sea, and the Kyudo (archery) experience. We'll bring the attractions of Katsuura to you, such as seaside shrines, Torii gates, seafood, and ramen. Let's explore together!
- Joyful Train: B.B. Base, the cycling train *LIVE*
- Cycling around Katsuura: Morning market, doll's festival, shrines, and food
- SUP: Stand-up paddleboard
- Kyudo: Japanese archery
What you will get: Virtual tour and Joyful Train B.B. Base amenity items
4. DARUMA × JR East
Presented by: Shim-Maebashi Train Depot
(Video credit: Shim-Maebashi Train Depot)
Our unit provides transportation in Gunma Prefecture. Did you know that Gunma has a special item for granting wishes? It’s the Daruma doll! 80% of this traditional Japanese craft is primarily handmade in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture, by skilled craftsmen. People draw a single eye when making a wish. And if their wish comes true, the other eye will be added on the Daruma’s face in sincere gratitude. Even in our workplace, we’ll use a Daruma to pray for everyone’s well-being and safety. What is your wish? Why don’t you join our tour and paint your wish with us?
- Introduction to Takasaki City
- The Daruma tradition: From drawing to the bonfire
- Daruma painting experience: *LIVE* from the Ozashiki train Hana
- Staff’s recommended Ekiben: The Daruma Bento
What you will get: Virtual tour and a Daruma doll
5. Genuine Fascination
Presented by: Kozu Train Depot
(Video credit: Kozu Train Depot)
We are the Kozu Train Depot. Today, we’d like to introduce the Izu area which is famous for its fresh Wasabi fields. The taste of fresh wasabi that grows in the Izu area is NOT the same as Wasabi paste in a tube. Have you ever tasted the differences? In our tour, you will have a chance to grate fresh Wasabi and taste its real flavour!
And now, how to access Izu? The Saphir ODORIKO is the train for you! In the tour, we will also introduce everything about this special train. Is it just a mode of transportation? Not at all! See you in our virtual tour.
- Our workplace: Kozu Train Depot *LIVE*
- The luxury train: Saphir ODORIKO
- Introduction to Izu Area
- Wasabi grating experience at Kadoya Wasabi farm *LIVE*
What you will get: Virtual tour and a fresh Wasabi root
6. 24 ~A page for your life~
Presented by: Ofuna Train Depot
(Video credit: Ofuna Train Depot)
If you've ever wondered what working as a Train Conductor or Driver is like, this virtual tour will be perfect for you! Together with our crew from Ofuna Train Depot, we will be bringing you to learn the secrets of the tunnel at Taura Station, and the resort area near Kamakura—Hayama.
We won’t be covering famous spots or places you may have visited before, so do vote for our tour and let’s go on a new discovery!
- Kamakura: Leisure activities
- Hayama and Zushi: Cycling and local food
- Yokosuka and Taura Area: The mystery of Taura Tunnel *LIVE*
- Taura and East Zushi Area: A driver’s exclusive view of Mount Fuji *LIVE*
- Kamakura: Night spots
What you will get: Virtual tour and an assortment of JR East amenities
7. Koi Channel
Presented by: Osaki Train Depot
(Video credit: Osaki Train Depot)
Osaki Train Depot manages the Yamanote Line. We are recommending a “Transit Tour” that allows you to have fun while waiting for your connecting flight. In this virtual tour, we will show you how to easily enjoy the area around Nippori station, which you can easily access within 12 minutes from Tokyo Station. We will be introducing to you our favourite Japanese culture, such as the art of candy-sculpturing and kakigori (shaved ice). Let’s have fun together on this virtual tour!
- “Transit Tour” from Tokyo to Nippori
- Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street: Kakigori and other local foods
- Yoshihara candy store: Amezaiku (traditional candy sculpture) workshop *LIVE*
- Introduction to Koichan’s job at the depot
What you will get: Virtual tour and a Japanese snack box
From now until 15 August, cast your vote for your favourite virtual tour—and the two teams with the highest number of votes shall make their grand debut in TJRF 2021! What’s more, voters will also stand a chance to win an exclusive set of train memorabilia from JR East. 10 lucky winners will be announced on 1 Sep 2021, so don’t forget to leave your contact details so that we can reach you. Note: All tour itineraries and ticket prices presented above are dependant on seasonal availability and are subject to change. Terms and conditions apply.
TJRF is coming back! But in the meantime…
If you’re having trouble deciding on which tour is best, join us for a LIVE screening of all seven teams’ teaser videos on Facebook tonight (19 July, Monday) at 7pm (SGT)! Look forward to an evening of lively discussion among fellow rail travel enthusiasts on this series of virtual tours.
Coming soon: The Japan Rail Fair 2021
This October, JAPAN RAIL CAFE is back with The Japan Rail Fair! Learn more about the different aspects of Japan’s railway in this fun-filled week―where there will be exciting activities as well as informative webinars, sharing sessions, and engaging workshops that celebrate the wonders of Japan rail travel. More details will be released in September, so stay tuned, mark your calendars, and we’ll see you rail-ly soon!
Lucky Draw Terms and conditions:
- Date of results announcement: 1 Sep 2021
- Only voters who have submitted their personal information (email and name) will be included in the lucky draw.
- Multiple entries are allowed.
- In the unlikely event of a dispute, JR East reserves the right to make the final decision.
- Selection of prize items may be subject to stock availability.
Header image credit: JR East