Retail in Asia

In Sectors

World’s first Japan Rail Cafe opens in Singapore

After encountering a slew of character cafes this year, it was particularly refreshing to discover the travel-themed Japan Rail Cafe. The first of its kind in the world, the cafe is East Japan Railway Company (JR East)’s first overseas venture. For the uninitiated, JR East primarily serves the Kanto and Tohoku regions in Japan. Those who’ve been to the Land of the Rising Sun should be pretty familiar with it! With its overarching aim to promote Japan travel in Singapore, the cafe is primed to be a one-stop-shop for travelers and hungry cafe hoppers alike. SEE ALSO: 7 survival tips for Singapore department stores The spacious cafe is decked out in warm shades of wood and bright pops of teal. Rail tracks also run all around the cafe, from the walls to the ceilings — a quirky nod to its theme.

Buy your rail passes here

Upon entering, a Japan Rail Pass Counter greets you with its huge sign. Here, customers can purchase exchange orders for JR passes before their trips at the instore rail pass ticketing counter operated by JTB Pte Ltd. The menu comes in the form of a well-designed newsletter, which currently highlights the Tohoku region of Japan. Foodies will be delighted to know that a special menu will be launched each month, where representative dishes of a region will be featured, alongside regular items.

Retail and workshops

Check out the retail corner at the cafe, lovingly curated by Oishii Japan. Each month, the retail corner will feature various food items from the featured region. Plus, there’ll be a range of 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”. And if you’re planning a trip to Japan, the monthly seminars and workshops held at the cafe will be exceptionally useful to attend. The cafe looks set to collaborate with partners including Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), Japanese local governments and Japanese corporations.