A touch of Green Car class even if you’re not taking the bullet train.

Speed and convenience may be the primary selling points of Japan’s Shinkansen bullet trains, but it’s the little details that really make the ride pleasant. Things like the dulcet voice that greets you with the ever-so-classy “Welcome to the Shinkansen” over the in-car speakers, the silky smooth, near-silent acceleration as you pull away from the station, and, for some lucky passengers, the luxuriously thick most towelette.

That last nicety is something known to travelers with tickets for Green Car (i.e. first-class) carriages on the Nozomi and Hikari-class bullet trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen line, which connects Tokyo and Osaka. In Japan, it’s customary for restaurants to supply customers with a moist towelette, called an oshibori in Japanese, upon their arrival to the establishment, and it’s a bit of hospitality carried out in the Green Cars as well, where passengers are given one after boarding, regardless of whether or not they’re ordering anything from the train’s food and beverage offerings.

▼ The oshibori we were given on our Shinkansen Green Car trip

With the Green Car being the most expensive way to travel by Shinkansen, most passengers opt for less-expensive seats. However, Shinkansen operator Japan Railways is now offering a way to enjoy Green Car oshibori without a Green Car ticket, or even any Shinkansen ticket at all, as you can now buy the first-class towelettes through the JR-Plus Online Shop.

Produced by Japanese textile maker Nisshinbo, the Green Car oshibori are made with oikos, a non-woven 100-percent cotton fabric that’s both durable and soft to the touch.

300 by 235 millimeters (11.8 by 9.3 inches) square, they’re big enough not to just clean off your fingertips, but to function as full-on napkins and even tempt you into the borderline faux pas of using your oshibori to wipe off your neck on a hot summer day.

The Green Car oshibori are available in packs of 50 (here), 100 (here), and 200 (here), priced at 1,700, 3,000, and 5,600 yen (US$11.10, US$19.60. and US$36.60), quantities that should last you a while, though if you’re a rail fan you’ll probably want to keep at least one unopened in its original packaging.

Source: JR-Plus Online Shop via IT Media
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: SoraNews24, JR-Plus Online Shop
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