A special six-car Mickey Mouse-themed shinkansen bullet train has begun serving southwestern Japan's Kyushu region, with images of the beloved character splashed across its yellow livery and interiors.
Kyushu Railway Co. hopes the 800-series train, nicknamed the "JR Kyushu Waku Waku Trip Shinkansen," will entice people to visit the region by bullet train. "Waku waku" means fun and exciting in Japanese.
Festooned with various images of the iconic Walt Disney Co. character, the train is scheduled to run between Hakata Station in Fukuoka and Kagoshima-Chuo Station until late November.
Mickey Mouse is just the latest popular cartoon or anime character to be used to promote bullet train travel in Japan. Trains decorated with images of Hello Kitty and popular Japanese animation series "Neon Genesis Evangelion" plied Japanese tracks last year.
"There are lots of hidden details inside the train," JR Kyushu President Toshihiko Aoyagi said at a launch ceremony on Friday at Hakata Station. "We hope (passengers) will enjoy an exciting journey through Kyushu."
On the side of the train, Mickey Mouse is depicted as a tourist carrying a suitcase and a straw hat. Also featured are images of various Kyushu specialties, including watermelons, strawberries, mangoes and ramen noodles. There is also an image of a traditional bathing basin and washcloth for onsen hot springs, the tourist attraction Kyushu is best known for.
Limited-edition Mickey Mouse shinkansen souvenirs, such as notebooks, pins, and key rings, are available aboard.
Passengers can check https://www.jrkyushu-wakuwaku.jp for schedules and other details.