In Japan, it certainly wouldn’t be far-fetched for someone to hop on a Shinkansen in order to catch a museum exhibition in another city. But it’s a rarer thing when that exhibition is being held on the Shinkansen itself.
Launched earlier this year, the “Genbi Shinkansen” (or “Contemporary Art Shinkansen”) has been running on holidays and weekends since the end of April between Echigo Yuzawa and Niigata. The trains have been transformed into exhibition cars, featuring art by Nao Matsumoto, Naoki Ishikawa, Yusuke Komuta, Haruka Kojin, Kentaro Kobuke, Brian Alfred, paramodel, and Mika Ninagawa.
The exterior of the train is covered with photo prints by Ninagawa, while the interior sports brightly colored textiles on the seats and carpeting. As you’d expect at any self-respecting gallery, this shinkansen gallery features a café that serves up Tsubame Coffee and Maison rumi-unie pastries. The project is also supporting artisans and other producers in and around Niigata, and there are a number of accommodation packages for destinations at either end of the artful train trip.
Japan is no stranger to luxury train experiences, but we’re happy to have one more option for traveling in style. After June, the train will continue running, so stay updated through the Genbi Shinkansen site (a piece of work in itself.)