It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Train… 

Japan, often featured on many people’s bucket lists, is visited by millions every year due to its innovative nature. One of these in-demand innovations is the one and only Shinkansen, the world’s fastest train. The Shinkansen also known as the bullet train was built in 1964 and connects many regions to the capital, Tokyo. It now has nine shinkansen lines connecting Tokyo to Honshu, Kyushu and Hokkaido with many different series and models built over the years with such beautiful craftsmanship. Japan is a paradise for almost all train otakus and not just for the Shinkansen but for regular trains due to their efficiency and punctuality. It’s no wonder these trains have gathered up a significant audience. In this article, I’m going to delve into the different types of otaku.


Lights, camera, action. Tori-tetsu refers to those who will do anything to capture the perfect shot of the train from every possible angle. The Tori-tetsu can usually be spotted at the beginning or end of the platform with their fancy cameras being held up by even fancier tripods and peeled eyes. They’re the paparazzi of the train world and won’t let any opportunity go unmissed. It’s the thrill of the chase for them as they prefer to have the train captured while it’s moving. 


Nori-tetsu is one who simply enjoys riding the train. The Nori-tetsu want to get their money’s worth from their train ride and seek the little pleasures from the train’s interior to the scenery passing them by on the outside through the carriage window. They also enjoy relaxing with a drink and do not anxiously worry as if it’s their daily commute or final destination as they’re in it purely for the ride. Not forgetting to mention the therapeutic sound of the train gliding on the tracks which is enough for them to be satisfied. 


Oishi-tetsu are in it for the stamps. In many Japanese train stations, they have a corner which provides an inking pad, a rubber stamp as well as pieces of paper. The stamp usually has a unique design which acts as a motif or symbolises that area. Usually, tourists want to take a stamp away for a souvenir so use the paper provided however avid stamp collectors like the Oishi-tetsu already possess their own stamp book and stamp until their hearts are content.


The Ekiben-tetsu are there for the food alone. Now, this isn’t just any old food, these are usually the lunchboxes known as bentos that are presented at any given station and come in many shapes and sizes with different flavours and delicacies from each reigon. The Ekiben-tetsu enjoys everything from unboxing the bento to seeing what seasonal designs or locally produced items are included in the box. The joy of eating the one-of-a-kind dish whilst riding the train is a true luxury. 


The Oto-tetsu are experts when it comes to listening to all things: train. They not only enjoy listening to the generic sounds of the trains but get a thrill from the announcements when travelling from station to station. They have a strong ear for the diverse jingles played at different stations and sometimes travel purely to make recordings. 

Not only are there many more different types of train otaku, but you are not limited to just one type. For a train otaku, trains are much more than a commute or a means to an end, trains are a capsule journey bringing awareness to all the senses. Which otaku are you?