“Anpanman Trains” have met 1 million people – 21 train cars in Shikoku attract children

JR Shikoku will cooperate with group companies to carry out various commemorative projects until the end of September 2023 taking advantage of the fact that the total number of users of the tourist trains “Anpanman Trains” has reached 1 million which is operated by them in Shikoku.

JR Shikoku KIHA 185 Series "Yu Yu Anpanman Car", which is operated by adding to the limited express trains of the Kotoku and Tokushima Lines (ninochan555/PIXTA ©やなせたかし/フレーベル館・TMS・NTV)
JR Shikoku KIHA 185 Series “Yu Yu Anpanman Car”, which is operated by adding to the limited express trains of the Kotoku and Tokushima Lines (ninochan555/PIXTA ©やなせたかし/フレーベル館・TMS・NTV)

Debuted on the train for Kochi, Takashi Yanase’s hometown

The history of the collaboration between Takashi Yanase’s TV animation series “Anpanman” and JR Shikoku dates back to October 2000. The first generation “Anpanman Train (Blue)” appeared, which greatly renewed the interior and exterior of the 4-car 2000 series diesel train. It began operation as a limited express “NAMPU” on the Dosan Line, which runs through Kochi Prefecture, a place associated with Takashi.

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Familiar characters are drawn to the fullest on the exterior, seats, ceiling and other interiors, and it can be said that it is a pioneering existence of trains that can be enjoyed with children, those are now running in various place in Japan. The well-received Anpanman train has been expanded, and it has become possible to ride it as a Yosan Line limited express by expanding the target to other vehicle types.

After that, on the Kotoku and Tokushima Lines, the “YuYu Anpanman Car” has appeared which is connected to the limited express train of ordinary vehicles. In addition, the “Anpanman Torokko” was also produced which can be ridden while feeling the sea breeze on the Seto Ohashi Line, and currently a total of 21 Anpanman cars are active on the main routes of Shikoku.

On June 14, 2023 (Wed), when the number of passengers reached 1 million, a commemorative departure ceremony was held at Kochi Station, inviting people involved in the anime “Soreike! Anpanman” to celebrate the departure of the train to Okayama Station.

The main stations in Shikoku are decorated with flags and tabletop pops that announce their achievements. In particular, the commemorative design wrapped around the stairs in front of the ticket gate of Kochi Station is worth seeing in which Anpanman and Baikinman stand side by side. All JR Shikoku Group employees, with the exception of some, wear commemorative nameplates, creating a sense of unity around the Anpanman train.

(See the chart below for details such as a route map of the JR Shikoku “Anpanman Train” and the operation dates and times of the “YuYu Anpanman Car”.)

[Chart] A route map of the JR Shikoku "Anpanman Train" and the operation dates and times of the "YuYu Anpanman Car"

“YuYu Anpanman Train” is on an expedition to Kyoto

By the way, the “YuYu Anpanman Car” is currently undergoing maintenance and is on special display at the Kyoto Railway Museum (Kyoto City) from June 29 (Thu) to July 11 (Tue). As part of the project to commemorate the achievement of 1 million passengers, you can see the “playroom” inside the car, which is the only one among the many Anpanman cars, and there are also explanation panels and models on display.

At the temporary shop in the venue, Anpanman Train-related goods are available, and “Anpanman Bento” and “Genki 100 Bai! Anpanman Bento” with a water bottle will be sold in limited quantities of 50 each which are usually only sold in Shikoku. In addition to the bentos sold on the day, you can also make advance reservations by phone, but in this case you will need to pay the admission fee to the museum to receive them.

After returning to Shikoku, the “YuYu Anpanman Car” will be connected with the limited express “UZUSHIO” between Takamatsu and Tokushima, and the limited express “TSURUGISAN” between Tokushima and Awa-Ikeda. During the summer vacation period from July 15 (Sat) to August 31 (Thu), the trains will run every day, including weekdays and Obon festival.

In addition, JR Shikoku plans to plan special travel products to commemorate the achievement of 1 million, such as a tour that uses the Anpanman train to visit the Kami City Yanase Takashi Memorial Hall Anpanman Museum. In addition, the group’s Shikoku Kiosk (headquaters: Takamatsu City), JR Shikoku Station Development (same) stores, and JR Hotel Clement Takamatsu (Takamatsu City) will also prepare gifts to commemorate achievement.