Maglev Super Fast New Train in Japan
Train enthusiasts love the Japanese train system for several reasons. First is that the trains in Japan are known to be the most punctual running trains in the world. Even if the train is just a few seconds late, the train company will apologize profusely for this fact. Another reason is that Japan’s trains are fast. The shinkansen bullet train became famous as one of the safest and fastest trains in the world. And now a new, even faster train will join the ranks: the maglev train is currently slated for its first commercial ride in 2027.
New Super Fast Train in Japan
Maglev is an abbreviation of Magnetic Levitation. It is a new type of train which uses two sets of magnets. One set is to repel and push the train up off the track. Another set is to move the elevated train ahead. This system reduces friction and enables the train to run at a higher speed than what is possible with currently used technology. By the way, the maglev is called ‘Linear Motor Car’ in Japan.
Now, Japan is building a new line from the biggest city Tokyo to the second biggest city Osaka. Once the line starts operations, it will take only 40 minutes from Tokyo to Nagoya. The same ride now takes 100 minutes by shinkansen. From Tokyo to Osaka, it will take 67 minutes from 150 minutes by shinkansen.
History of Maglev Technology
1962: research on the linear motor propulsion railway system began.
1972: the ML-100 train had its first success in magnetic levitation running at the Japanese National Railway’s Railway Technical Research Institute.
1979: the first test vehicle ML-500 ran unmanned and recorded 517 km per hour. It was the world’s fastest speed at that time.
2003: MLX01-2 recorded 581 km/h in a manned run. It was the world’s fastest railway speed at that time.
2013: necessary extension work came to an end, completing the 42.8 km Yamanashi Maglev Line. Running tests started on this line with Series L0, a new rolling stock model aimed for commercial use.
2015: it recorded 603 km/h, the world’s fastest manned running speed.
2027: they plan to start commercial use between Tokyo and Nagoya.
2037: they plan to extend the line to Osaka.
Yamanashi Prefectural Maglev Exhibition Center
The Yamanashi Prefectural Maglev Exhibition Center opened in 2003 to exhibit the test vehicle which recorded the world’s fastest railway speed. They renewed it in 2014, adding more information with a diorama and experiment machines. You can see the actual running train from the exhibition center. They operate it two or three times an hour as a museum experiment. But please check their website before you visit, because they sometimes don’t operate the train the whole day.
So what can you see in this cool museum? On the 1st floor, they exhibit the real train which recorded the world’s fastest speed in 2003. You can enter the vehicle and sit down on the seat. You may feel like riding on an airplane because of the shape of the window. If you look at both sides of the train, you will find big superconducting magnets. The panels around the train explain the history of the development of the Maglev.
On the 2nd floor, there is a miniature of Maglev which really floats and moves for a short distance. You can even ride on it. It looks like an attraction for small kids in an amusement park, but it uses advanced technology.
On the 3rd floor, the Linear Theater shows a short movie about the Maglev. You can feel the speed of 500km/h by images, sound, and vibration. There is also a big diorama through which the Maglev runs. The well-made diorama shows the changing time and seasons.
There are six interactive exhibitions with the following themes:
– The secret of the coils that levitate the Maglev
– Making magnetic fields with an electric current
– Creating an electric current with a magnetic field
– The mechanism behind the superconducting Maglev’s propulsion
– The concept behind the superconducting Maglev’s levitation
– The mechanism behind the superconducting Maglev’s ability to turn its body
The superconducting Lab shows the mechanism of Maglev with the explanation by the curator.
There is also an Observation Terrace. From the windows or terrace of each floor, you can see the Maglev running at 500 km/h. The display monitor informs the current location of the train. They inform the approach of the train by the announcement, too, so you will not miss it.
Wakuwaku Yamanashi-kan is a building next to the Maglev Exhibition Center. It is free of charge to enter. From the third floor, you can see the real running train through the window without an entrance fee. The second floor is the tourist information of Yamanashi Prefecture including Mt. Fuji. On the first floor is a souvenir shop. You can buy local souvenirs including local wines.
Maglev Exhibition Center Access Information
Access: Take an express train of JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku to Otsuki. It takes about one hour. Then take a bus from Otsuki Station. It takes about 15 minutes to the exhibition center.
Fee: 420 yen for adults / 310 yen for senior high school students / 200 yen for junior high school and elementary school students
Hours: From 9 am to 5 pm. Closed on Monday (if Monday is a national holiday, open on Monday and closed on Tuesday)
Your Japan Tour
As seasoned Japan experts, we can help you create your perfect Japan tour including guides who can tell you all about the Maglev. The guide can take you to Yamanashi Prefectural Maglev Exhibition Center if you wish. Check out our group tours and private tours, or contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country. Japan is full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!