Japan: Bullet train gets foot baths

An E3-type Shinkansen train Image copyright Wikimedia Commons/Tetsumaru
Image caption The special bullet train probably won't reach 'bullet' speeds

Passengers on a new Japanese railway service will be able to relax in specially-designed foot baths, it's been reported.

The East Japan Railway Company is to run a new Shinkansen (bullet train) service between Shinjo and Fukushima in the north of the country featuring the special foot baths and other luxury facilities, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reports. Passengers on the two-hour journey can sit, four at a time, with their feet in the baths, before retiring to the "after-bath lounge car" for locally-brewed sake, the Japan Times says.

According to the company, it cost 500m yen ($4.9m; £2.9m) to convert the rolling stock on the six-carriage E3 bullet train, even though the special excursion service will only run for three months. An official says that designers had to overcome the effects of Newton's laws of motion to avoid unnecessary spillage. "We had to be creative, like placing cushions inside the tubs so that the hot water won't spill out even when the train sways hard," Hideyuki Terui told Asahi Shimbun.

Now 50 years old, the Japanese Shinkansen bullet train system covers nearly 2,400km (1,490 miles) at speeds up to 320km/h (200mph). The footbath-equipped trains are expected to cover the 157km (97-mile) trip from Shinjo to Fukushima at a rather more stately speed.

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