Wrestlers face off in a shinkansen bullet train traveling from Tokyo to Nagoya in central Japan, with cheers erupting throughout the packed car as they exchange kicks and execute piledrivers.

This is just the tip of a new trend in post-pandemic travel experiences, where bullet trains are being transformed into lively entertainment venues, making the journey as fun as the destination.

The shinkansen wrestling event held last September was organized by Tokyo-based DDT Pro-Wrestling by utilizing operator Central Japan Railway Co.'s chartered train car service.

A pro-wrestling event is held on a bullet train in September 2023. (Photo courtesy of Central Japan Railway Co.)(Kyodo)

All 75 premium seats priced at 25,000 yen ($161) and reserved seats priced at 17,700 yen were sold out in around 30 minutes.

DDT Pro-Wrestling president Sanshiro Takagi said he organized the event to enable people to have "an extraordinary experience on the shinkansen."

"I want to hold such events again as it left an impact on many fans," the 54-year-old pro-wrestler said, adding that it also attracted attention from overseas via social media.

In March, around 60 people were able to enjoy sushi and sake from a high-end Tokyo restaurant as they rode in a chartered first-class Green Car of the Tokaido Shinkansen Line's Kodama train from Tokyo to Nagoya.

Despite tickets being priced at a hefty 55,000 yen, they also quickly sold out.

The railway operator, commonly known as JR Central, began chartering shinkansen cars in 2022 during the coronavirus pandemic to encourage people to use its trains.

Participants of a gourmet sushi and sake event held on a bullet train in March 2024. (Photo courtesy of Central Japan Railway Co.)(Kyodo)

While the cars were initially chartered for private events like weddings and corporate presentations, the company said it is now receiving more interesting requests as the pandemic eases.

"We want to continue creating experiences that meet the 'nozomi' (expectations) of customers," a JR Central official quipped, making a pun on the name of the fastest shinkansen train service on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, Nozomi.

Travel analyst Kotaro Toriumi said that bullet trains, once merely a means of transportation, have now taken on the added function of serving as an entertainment platform.

"It seems enjoying the journey itself fills the void left by dwindling enthusiasm for travel during the pandemic," he said.

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