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Designer trains add to joy of traveling in Japan

JR East's art-themed shinkansen bullet train features colorful images of fireworks by Mika Ninagawa.

TOKYO -- Japanese trains are sporting unique looks to entertain their passengers.

East Japan railway, the main railroad operator in eastern Japan, introduced a new shinkansen bullet train on April 29 on the route between Niigata and Echigo-Yuzawa, mainly for use on weekends and holidays. The special train, with only six coaches, features contemporary Japanese works of art. Seven artists and an art unit were involved in the design, including photographer and film director Mika Ninagawa, who designed the train's exterior, inspired by famous fireworks in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture.

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