Shinkansen in Komatsu

Raichō limited express

Many years back I worked in JAIST, close to Kanazawa, in the Ishikawa prefecture. I have fond memories of this period, living in the “back of Japan”. Going to Tōkyō was a complicated affaire, as you needed to follow the coast and join the high-speed rail network in Echigo-Yuzawa. I used to fly to Europe out of Ōsaka as this was both closer and cheaper. Travelling to and from the airport involved the Thunderbird limited express and the older Raichō limited express. Raichō literally means Thunderbird, so this was a cute linguistic trick to indicate the two trains were similar.

When I went back to Kanazawa the city felt different: lots of people, there was a Shinkansen, and lots of people. The city was accessible by high speed rail directly from Tōkyō. The project was to continue the high-speed line towards Ōsaka, and yesterday the segment to Tsuruga was inaugurated, with a stop in Komatsu (the closest town to JAIST). This means the end of the Thunderbird service to Ishikawa. This train had a special meaning for me, as this was the first one I rode in Japan, and one where I had strange experiences. Time moves on.

Limited express “Raicho” 2010 – JR West 413 series (left) and 485 series (right) EMUs at Fukui Station – CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED
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