If you’ve taken the shinkansen (bullet train) from Tōkyō to Ōsaka/Kyōto, you’ve probably seen this building. Just outside of Nagoya on the Tōkaidō line, on the way to Kyōto is the massive Panasonic Solar Ark [ソーラーアーク]. Traveling along at almost 300 km/h, it’s tricky to get a good photo of this huge structure…

Panasonic Solar Ark [ソーラーアーク]

Panasonic Solar Ark as seen from the shinkansen
NIKON D5200 (35mm, f/1.8, 1/640 sec, ISO100)
Panasonic Solar Ark as seen from the shinkansen

As described on the Japanese Panasonic Solar Ark website, the Ark is a huge 315m wide (3 football fields long) and 37m high (about 10 stories). The Ark is covered in LEDs to show light displays at night (something I’m yet to see… maybe I should arrange a night time shinkansen trip).

The Panosonic Solar Ark is located in the Anpachi District of Gifu Prefecture. For people who want more than a fleeting glimpse, you can visit the Solar Ark. On site there is a Science Museum. To get there, take the bullet train to Gifu-Hashima station and then get a taxi to the Ark.

Panasonic Solar Ark location

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View this location – Map coordinates: 35.331044,136.671182.

How to see the Panasonic Solar Ark from the bullet train

  • Traveling from Ōsaka/Kyōto towards Nagoya/Tōkyō, try and get a seat on the left side of the train.
  • Traveling from Nagoya/Tōkyō towards Ōsaka/Kyōto, get on the right side of the train.

If you can’t get on the correct side of the train, lookout for the Ark between Maibara (east of Kyōto) and Gifu-Hashima (west of Nagoya) stations. All bullet trains except the Kodama service skips Maibara and Gifu-Hashima stations.