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Hokuriku Shinkansen Bullet Train Takes You Off The Beaten Path In Japan

Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train, Japan
Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train, Japan [Image by るーと16 on Wikimedia Commons]
Since the end of the pandemic, Japan has soared in popularity with many travelers visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and other popular cities. While the country might still be on your bucket list, a new high-speed bullet train route has been launched to take travelers to a lesser-known area with many fascinating attractions. Those who want to learn more about Japanese culture and its history should definitely buy a ticket on the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train to lesser-known prefectures.

Japan extends the route of the Hokuriku Shinkansen high-speed bullet train

Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train, Japan
Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train, Japan [Image by Pelican on Flickr]
Just as travelers are making plans to visit Japan, the country has extended the route of Hokuriku Shinkansen, a high-speed bullet train that takes visitors to places they have never been before. While Tokyo and Japan’s other major cities are fascinating to visit, this new train route takes a different turn, heading to lesser-known prefectures with fascinating places to explore.

According to CNBC, the extension of the high-speed bullet train route was opened on March 16, 2024, allowing people to explore beyond Tokyo in comfort.

The Hokuriku Shinkansen train is set to take visitors to Japan’s picturesque and remote Fukui Prefecture. Fukui itself is located around 185 miles west of Tokyo and the train route will take visitors through the city of Fukui to the town of Awara and several other places you won’t have heard about before.

Meanwhile, the train’s final stop is at the little-known port town of Tsuruga, which adds around 78 miles to the Hokuriku Shinkansen’s previous Tokyo to Kanazawa route.

What can you expect along the way?

The extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen route reveals an area of Japan that is far less visited by foreign travelers. Moreover, it has many exciting attractions, including Zen meditation practices, inviting hot spring baths and dinosaurs. The following are some of the highlights of the attractions to be found along the route:

– Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, Katsuyama

Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, Katsuyama
– Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, Katsuyama [Image by Takashi Kosaka on Flickr]
On the subject of dinosaurs, almost 80 percent of dinosaur fossils found in Japan were discovered near the town of Fukui. Due to this, the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum in Katsuyama is a definite must for visitors. It is considered one of the leading dinosaur museums in the world and is a treasury of dinosaur fossils.

The sprawling museum hosts several dinosaur skeletons, as well as other animal and plant fossils and a diorama with dinosaur reconstruction models and more. Meanwhile, fascinating dinosaur animatronics (robots) reveal the realistic motions of the powerful extinct creatures that can be seen before getting back on the high-speed bullet train.

– Zen Buddhist Temples and Monasteries, Eiheiji

Eiheiji Temple Complex
Eiheiji Temple Complex [Image by 雷太 on Wikimedia Commons]
The Hokuriku Shinkansen also stops at Eiheijiguchi train station, where travelers can explore Zen Buddhist temples and monasteries dating back to the 1200s. The Eiheiji Temple Complex {Temple of Eternal Peace) is the center of Japanese Zen Buddhism. Meanwhile, the complex features more than 70 buildings including temples and an active monastery, connected by covered walkways. All the buildings are spread out on a cedar-covered slope in the mountains just outside Fukui City.

– Port of Humanity Museum, Tsuruga

Visitors jumping off the train at the final stop in Tsuruga can explore many beautiful scenic sites including beachside pine groves. However, one fascinating must-visit is the Port of Humanity Museum in the town. Tsuruga Port is the only port in Japan where Polish orphans landed back in the 1920s, as well as Jewish refugees with what were dubbed “visas for life” in the 1940s.

The museum nestles in a restored building from the period and teaches future generations about the history of orphans and refugees who landed there and how the people of Tsuruga helped and welcomed them.

Find out more about the Hokuriku Shinkansen train and how to access it on the official website here.

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