Inside the Gran Class
Source: Japan Rail Pass – By Japan Experience
Most of Japan’s shinkansen normally have a green class and a standard class, but in recent years, newer models of train have introduced a new class for the ultimate bullet train travel: the Gran Class.
This new first-class train travel whose name was inspired by the French word for “big”, started in 2011 on the Tohoku Shinkansen. This line runs from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori Station (the last stop before Hokkaido!) and opened in 2008. With the unveiling of its latest model of bullet train and fastest Tohoku line, the Hayabusa, came the Gran Class as well. Since then, the Tohoku Shinkansen’s other lines, such as the Hayate and Yamabiko, also have Gran Class cars on their newer models.
The Gran Class is an experience of exclusive luxury: each car has only 6 rows. Each row has 3 seats of large, plush reclining chairs, and an attenant who takes care of you throughout your entire trip!
Passengers are led to their seat by this attendant provided with amenities such as a blanket, slippers, and an eye mask, as well as a menu. All food and beverages on this menu use Tohoku ingredients and products, such as Aomori apple juice and bento with local vegetables.
Currently only the Tohoku line offers the special service of attendant and gourmet bento. Some trains that run from Tokyo to Nagano have begun to integrate Gran Class-designed cars (and their comfortable seats) without the aforementioned amenities.
However, new models of trains, as well as new shinkansen lines that are soon to open, are adding Gran Class cars, so look forward to them as you plan your future trips to Japan!
Training for Hayabusa Attendants