Train geeks rejoice! Now you have the chance to ‘drive’ an E5 shinkansen at the Hotel Metropolitan Edmont in Iidabashi. The train simulator, which takes pride of place at the hotel lobby, will be here until March 2023 for guests to enjoy a simulated test-drive in the Tohoku region. This is the simulator's first public appearance – and there are a few ways you can settle in on the driver’s seat.
The machine boasts the E5’s iconic turquoise colour and it’s nearly as big as the cockpit of an actual E5 shinkansen. You’ll get to navigate the train along a short route between Oyama and Utsunomiya stations at 320 km/h, the highest speed for a commercial train in Japan.
This faithful reproduction is equipped with an original driver’s seat, gauges, switches and levers. Aside from the train’s original signal security system DS-ATC, you can also check the speedometer, S-TIMS (Train Information Management System) and other information on three monitors.
For the simulation, choose between a 5-minute and a 10-minute experience. While the former includes guidance on the screen and travelling a short route in between stations, the latter, intermediate level lets you navigate the train from one station to the other without any assistance.
Unfortunately, you can’t just walk into the hotel and hop into the cockpit. To test-drive the shinkansen model, you have two options: spend a night at the hotel or make a booking for the hotel’s lunch buffet.
The buffet, of course, is cheaper. Besides the all-you-can-eat meal (from ¥3,300 for adults), you’ll only need to pay an additional ¥1,000 per group to enjoy the simulator for 25 minutes. The current buffet deal is available daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm (3pm on weekends and holidays) until July 15. Note that the shinkansen experience can only accommodate four groups per day, so reserve as soon as possible.
Train otaku, on the other hand, will enjoy an overnight stay that includes a 40-minute experience in the E5 simulator. Rooms start from ¥16,500 per night including breakfast. Bookings are currently available until July 15.
For more information, see the hotel website.
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