AFP, published on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 12:34 p.m.
Dogs taking the train in Japan should normally travel in their carrier. But on Saturday, they were able to make themselves comfortable and enjoy the scenery aboard a car reserved for them on a high-speed train.
At Tokyo’s Ueno Station, 21 furry passengers boarded a special shinkansen carriage for an hour-long ride with their handlers to the tourist town of Karuizawa.
“We’re having fun,” Yukari Seino, 48, told AFP, stroking his seven-month-old chihuahua, named Chobi, comfortably on his lap.
“We traveled a lot together but I felt bad leaving my dog in a cage,” she continues, adding that this trip is taking place without clouds.
“It’s as if we were at home. I’m happy to be able to take the train without worry,” adds Yoko Okubo, 39, who came with her corgi.
Pomeranian loulous, a fox terrier and a playful Shiba with pointy ears were also among the four-legged travelers on board to inaugurate this “canine vacation” offered by the Japan Railways (JR) group.
This pilot project, for which an entire wagon is reserved, is organized by JR East and its subsidiary JR East Start Up.
Dogs are normally allowed on board the shinkansen but must remain locked in their transport cage and the weight, including the cage, must not exceed ten kilograms.
The promoters of the project want to organize other excursions for the four-legged friends, explains to AFP a manager of Start Up, Shino Furukawa: “We receive requests from customers who want a comfortable moment with their dogs on board the train. “.
“We want to create an environment that allows people to be in harmony with their pets, they are part of the family,” she continues. “It’s a big step forward for the concrete existence of transport where animals are welcome”.
Japanese trains are known for their cleanliness and one of the biggest challenges is maintaining that immaculate reputation, she insists.
The staff has thus covered all the seats with plastic and installed four air purifiers in the car, which will be completely cleaned after the trip to remove the slightest dog hair.