A travel-themed Japan Rail Cafe has opened in Singapore’s Tanjong Pagar Centre.
It is the first overseas venture for the cafe, the first of its kind in the world, run by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East).
JR East primarily serves the Kanto and Tohoku regions in Japan, and its cafe’s overarching aim is to promote Japanese travel. The cafe is decked out in timber with bright pops of teal with rail tracks as a feature. At the entrance is a Japan Rail Pass counter with a sign proclaiming: Buy your rail passes here. It is not just decor – customers can buy exchange orders for JR passes that cover not only JR East but also the five other Japan Railway companies, covering most regions in Japan.
For diners, the menu takes the form of a newsletter, the first highlighting the Tohoku region of Japan. A special menu will be launched each month of representative regional dishes alongside regular items. The variety is similar to the food found at quick-service eateries often located near railway stations in Japan.
There is a retail corner that offers food items from the month’s featured region, curated by Oishii Japan. There will also be products from JR East’s retail stores and shopping malls inside JR East train stations — a manifestation of Japan’s new lifestyle phenomenon Eki Naka, which means “in-station shopping”.
Also, for people planning to visit Japan, there will be monthly seminars and workshops at the cafe, which is collaborating with such partners as Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) and Japanese local governments and corporations.