The Kyushu Shinkansen will be extended from Hakata Station (Fukuoka Prefecture) to its final destination of Kagoshima-Chuo Station on March 12. This newest link will cut travel time between Hakata and Kagoshima to one hour and 19 minutes aboard the fastest trains. Following the final extension of the Tohoku Shinkansen in December 2010 to Shin-Aomori, Japan now has a high-speed Shinkansen rail network extending from the northernmost point of the main island of Honshu to the southern tip of Kyushu.
Until now, rail travel to Kagoshima from Osaka meant taking the Sanyo Shinkansen to Hakata and transferring to a limited express bound for Kagoshima, a five-hour trip. With the Kyushu Shinkansen fully extended, travel time will be shortened to three hours and 45 minutes, bringing Kumamoto and Kagoshima, with the splendid nature, hot springs and historic sites they have to offer, closer than ever before.
This newly extended line will also be using new railcars. The design concept of the Sakura trains, which run direct from Osaka, is the comfort of traditional Japanese-style hospitality. The soft bluish-green color of the cars echoes the tones of celadon ware, and a gold stripe reminiscent of cloisonné gives the cars premium feeling. Inside the cars, design accents feature wood and traditional Japanese motifs to create a pleasingly restful atmosphere that ensures a relaxing journey.
Timed to coincide with the line’s opening, commemorative events will take place on March 12 and 13. Local specialties will be on sale at Kagoshima-Chuo, Sendai and Izumi stations in Kagoshima Prefecture, and a parade and a music festival will be held around Hakata Station.