High-speed rail marks its 50th anniversary in Japan in 2014, with six main lines that serve most of the archipelago nation. One of them, the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, will extend to the Sea of Japan in 2015.
Operator JR East has started testing its Series E7 bullet train, which will eventually run from Tokyo to Kanazawa on the west coast. While not the fastest train in the fleet at a top speed of 160 mph, its looks have already generated many fans.
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Series E7 in three-quarter view
Industrial designer Ken Okuyama worked on the look of the Series E7 bullet train, which has an ivory exterior, blue roof and nose, and bronze trim. The overall aesthetic represents traditional crafts along the train's route.
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"Gran Class" carriage
One carriage on the E7 trains will be "Gran Class," the most luxurious. It will feature 18 seats in plush comfort, individual flexible lights, and an active suspension system.
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"Gran Class" design
The design motif in the "Gran Class" first-class carriage reflects the train's theme of traditional Japanese aesthetics -- as seen in these cherry blossoms -- married with modern technology.
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"Green Car" carriage
"Green Cars" are the usual first-class cars on Japan's bullet trains, but they're actually second-class on the Series E7. Here, the blue flooring emulates the appearance of a carpet.
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Seats in the E7's regular-class carriages will have access to electrical outlets. Meanwhile, all toilets on the train will feature electronic control panels and warm-water cleansing sprays.