Do you know you can hop on Anpanman themed trains in Japan! Yes! Shikoku is the gateway to your Anpanman adventure!
A visit to Shikoku, Japan’s fourth largest island, is not complete without hopping on the Anpanman train that fulfils all childhood’s fantasies! Anpanman, the iconic superhero whose head is made of bean-filled bread, can be spotted everywhere in Japan from baby’s products to children’s toys to food items and even transportation.
In Shikoku, the birthplace of Anpanman’s creator, Takashi Yanase who was born in Kochi, there are special Anpanman Japan Railway (JR) trains that pass through many scenic areas on Yosan, Dosan and Kotoku train lines.
During my solo backpacking trip to Shikoku, I did some extensive research to make sure I took the Anpanman train. There’s a guide for train enthusiasts who are planning your next trip to Japan!
First, there are five different themed Anpanman train. Each themed train covers a designated train route and has a special design. I was lucky to hop on trains that crossed prefectures like Matsuyama and Kagawa.
Crossing the magnificent Seto-Ohashi Bridge that links Honshu to Shikoku, the Anpanman train soars over the Seto Inland Sea. The 13.1 kilometres Seto-Ohashi Bridge is the “world’s longest two-tiered bridge”. The upper level is catered for the Seto-Chuo expressway and JR Seto-Ohashi line. The popular Seto-Ohashi line Anpanman Torokko, which runs during vacation periods, Golden week, Saturdays, and national holidays, is usually fully booked in advance. The nostalgic wooden carriage has long benches with wood crafted Anpanman figures and large open windows that provide unobstructed views of the tracks. Anpanman music playing in the background enhances the experience of riding with Anpanman over six bridges that connect Kojima in Okayama Perfecture to Sakaide of Kagawa Prefecture and through five islands.
Enjoy this video showing the Anpanman trains zooming across Shikoku!
Like the Seto-Ohashi line Anpanman Torokko that operates during limited periods, the special Yu Yu Anpanman car is a haven for children with its playroom filled with Anpanman toys. Navigating through Takamatsu, Tokushima and Awa Ikeda on the Kotoku line, Yu Yu Anpanman car has two carriages and the popular reserved seat area is embellished with Anpanman characters.
The Anpanman trains have attractive designs to complement different train lines. Travelling through Takamatsu, Matsuyama and Uwajima, the Yosan line Anpanman trains have white-based background adorned with a wide variety of colourful themes. Vibrant rainbows covered the Anpanman trains on the Dozan line, which transverses the spectacular Iya valley and its famous Oboke and Koboke gorges on the route between Okayama and Kochi Prefectures.
After so much fun and excitement exploring the different carriages in the trains, hungry passengers can try the sumptuous Anpanman bento that comes with cute Anpanman-shaped rice. The exclusive Anpanman bento can be purchased from major train stations or pre-ordered with the purchase of the train tickets.
Do not forget to get the Anpanman train stamp rally book from the train attendants and collect the adorable Anpanman stamps when you board the Anpanman trains! The Anpanman trains running on different train lines have unique stamp designs. Remember to look for Anpanman stamp booths at the train stations and collect stamp labelled with the respective train station’s name.
More information about the Anpanman trains like routes, timetables and reservations is available on the Japan Railway Anpanman Train website (in Japanese). Japan Railway organises many Anpanman events and promotions throughout the year, check out the Shikoku train website for more information.
Shikoku is a dream destination for all Anpanman fans with so many amazing Anpanman trains passing through the lush green fields and mountainous terrains that are surrounded by the vast ocean. For all train lovers, do not miss the opportunity to embark on the Anpanman train journey! Ride the Anpanman trains and enjoy a truly Japanese cultural experience! Let’s go!