Train hobbyists are generally known to be smart people, with almost photographic memories and an encyclopedic knowledge of all things train-related, if not a tad bit eccentric. In Japan they are called the somewhat-affectionate term densha otaku, or “train nerds.” These guys are famous for mind-bending feats like memorizing complex train timetables or for visiting every single one of the country’s almost 10,000 stations.
A related question would be “Where do these guys hang out?” As with normal people, they would be on the lookout for places that attract like-minded nerds. And as it turns out, there are a number of places in Tokyo that could attract the densha otaku, a wide selection of appropriate watering holes, restaurants and bars – all with a very obvious leaning towards the railway culture.
The Ginza Panorama, for example, is a bar filled with miniature model trains. The counter has multiple separate electric tracks built-in so patrons can watch the trains zipping by while sipping their beverages, and they also have about 700 model train carriages for sale. Kiha, a small bar in the traditional neighborhood of Ningyocho, has been designed to look exactly like the inside of a Tokyo subway car, complete with hand straps, emergency call buttons and all.
LittleTGV, near the geek paradise of Akihabara, bills itself as the world’s first rail-themed pub, where you’ll get a pretty girl in a train conductor’s uniform telling you to board her train, whatever that means. If you’re looking for a more family-friendly option, you can visit the Cafe & Bar Steam Locomotive, which is set in the ground floor of a Yurakucho office building. The center of the cafe is taken up by a massive model train display that includes several tracks and recreations of famous sites like Tokyo Tower.
Lastly, the Mistral Bleu – often referred to just as Train Bar – is not necessarily a cool hang out for train nerds. But we have to mention it because it is a bar made out of a train, literally. A train carriage was fit into the first floor of the ROI Building close to Roppongi Crossing and now is a hole-in-the-wall bar for classic rock fans.
[ via Rocket News 24 ]