JR West has decided to name the new sightseeing train that will begin operating in October 2024 as “Hana Akari,” and has unveiled train designs such as the “Superior Green Car,” a new seat type that is higher grade than exting Green Cars.
Noble body color with golden ivy wrapped
In October 2022, a plan was announced to transform the train into a “new sightseeing train that creates special journeys” based on the Kiha 189 series diesel cars used on the “Hamakaze” limited express train. Yasuyuki Kawanishi of ICHIBANSEN is once again supervising the design, who is known as the designer of the long-distance sightseeing train “WEST EXPRESS Ginga” and the new 273 series limited express train “Yakumo.”
The name of the train “Hana Akari (はなあかり: Brirlliant light)” is said to have the image of “light shining on the local areas and making them more vibrant.” It expresses that “the train lights up the special attractions of various regions in western Japan,” and the soft-touch logo evokes the train’s elegance and connection with the regions.
Wearing the color of “binrojizome,” which is said to be the highest quality dyed with crests such as hakama, they aimed for an exterior that stands out against nature, scenery, and station buildings wherever it runs. A golden ivy pattern is decorated around the train body that expresses the connection with the community and the users.
(See the chart below for details such as exterior design of the sightseeing train “Hana Akari”, image of seats in the Superior Green Car.)
The first route “Tsuruga to Kinosaki Onsen”
The interior has an elegant image with “gorgeous Japanese colors” spread throughout, with motifs of flowers that light up Japan’s four seasons .In particular, the car no.1 of the three-car train will have 10 spacious private rooms for two people. It is newly positioned as a “Superior Green Car,” which has higher-grade equipment than the Green Car, and although the price has not been determined, it will be sold as a seats that allows you to enjoy a more special trip.
The other two cars are the Green Cars and consist of box seats for 4 and 2 people with large tables. Part of Car no.2 will have a “salon” that can be used as a space for chatting with fellow passengers and for events. The capacity of the entire train is 54 seats, making it a spacious design.
The first period, from October to December 2024, will coincide with the JR Group’s “Hokuriku Destination Campaign” which will be held after the opening of Tsuruga Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. It has been decided that a wide-area tourism route will be operated that connects Tsuruga station to Kinosaki-Onsen Station vir the Obama Line, Kyoto Tango Railway and San’in Line. Trains exclusively for groups is currently operating on the same route, and preparations are underway to provide hospitality in collaboration with local residents.
From the second series onwards, JR West will operate throughout western Japan, changing areas depending on the season, and will work to revitalize the region while providing travelers with real experiences and places to meet people.