Japan’s iconic bullet trains, referred to as the Shinkansen, are world-famous—and for good purpose. The Shinkansen high-speed trains are quick, futuristic, environment friendly, secure, and comfy, making them arguably probably the most well-known trains globally. Greater than only a technique of transport, the Shinkansen is a must-see vacationer attraction that has develop into synonymous with Japan.

Touring on a bullet practice in Japan is a bucket-list expertise for a lot of guests, akin to visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Statue of Liberty in New York. It additionally presents the additional benefit of enabling you to succeed in locations throughout this spectacular nation.

In our full information to experiencing Japan’s Shinkansen high-speed trains, we’ll present every little thing you’ll want to find out about traveling by rail in Japan. From reserving seats to exploring probably the most cost-effective ticket choices with the JR Pass for limitless journey, the latest routes, enjoyable details, and far more—All aboard!


Get Your JR Move

We extremely suggest getting the JR Move for limitless practice journey in Japan. Right here’s why:

Limitless Journey: Get pleasure from limitless entry to most JR railways, together with high-speed Shinkansen, native trains, and buses.

Price Financial savings: Save considerably on journey prices, significantly helpful for long-distance and a number of journeys.

Simplicity: Keep away from the effort of buying particular person tickets by utilizing your move to simply entry trains.

Flexibility: Expertise the liberty to discover spontaneously with out worrying about further ticket prices.

Extra Advantages: Profit from extras like free reserved seat bookings and reductions on different JR transport providers.

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What’s the Shinkansen Excessive-Velocity Practice?

The Japanese phrase for ‘bullet practice,’ Shinkansen, interprets on to ‘new trunk line’. It additionally references the Japanese time period ‘dangan ressha’ (弾丸列車), in addition to the bullet-shaped nostril of the very first Shinkansen practice collection. Though initially that means ‘new trunk line,’ the time period Shinkansen has been extra generally used for many years to seek advice from each the trains and the tracks they function on.

Operated by the Japan Railways (JR) Group, the nation’s Shinkansen trains join Japan’s primary islands from Sapporo within the north to Kagoshima within the south. These unbelievable high-speed trains cease at practically all main Japanese cities—Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, and lots of others—throughout varied interconnecting Shinkansen strains and practice classes. With only a few exceptions, these strains are completely for Shinkansen trains, making nearly no metropolis off-limits, particularly when paired with a Japan Rail Pass. This particular ticket presents limitless journey on your complete nationwide JR community, together with the high-speed Shinkansen strains.

The Tokaido Shinkansen, arguably the nation’s hottest line, travels from Tokyo by Kyoto to Osaka, servicing a number of main cities alongside a route of historic significance since feudal Japan, initially very important for commerce. Right this moment, the road options three classes of trains, every differing by way of velocity and availability.

One other key line is the Sanyo Shinkansen, touring by Okayama and Hiroshima, and referred to as the ‘spine of the JR railways’. It presents 5 sorts of trains, additionally various by velocity and availability. The Nagasaki Shinkansen, formally the Nishi Kyushu or ‘West Kyushu’ Shinkansen, which started operations between 2022 and 2023, connects Nagasaki Metropolis to Fukuoka with a brand new high-speed practice named ‘Kagome’, that means ‘seagull’.

Lastly, an extension to the Hokuriku Shinkansen, extending the road to Tsuruga, providing journeys to Fukui Prefecture.

Shinkansen High-Speed Trains in Japan

The Evolution of Shinkansen

Ever since its launch, Japan’s Shinkansen has been celebrated for its record-breaking velocity, effectivity, and security. The long-lasting design has frequently advanced for the reason that Sixties, and extra lately, it has been refined into varied aerodynamic nostril shapes, together with a duck-billed design, to mitigate the noise challenge brought on by sonic booms when passing by tunnels.

One of many newest fashions is the N700S ‘Supreme’ Shinkansen, operated by JR Central on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen strains. This practice boasts a formidable new high velocity of 362 km/h (225 mph).

Shinkansen high-speed trains in Japan

Ideas For Touring on the Shinkansen Excessive-Velocity Trains in Japan

Should you’re visiting Japan for the primary time, navigating the nation’s distinctive rail community may appear daunting, however it’s a lot easier than it seems. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless essential to do your analysis earlier than your journey. We’re right here to help with a choice of the most effective common Shinkansen journey suggestions to make sure a clean expertise.

Highspeed trains in Japan

Checklist of Shinkansen Strains

  • Tokaido Shinkansen
  • Sanyo Shinkansen
  • Tohoku Shinkansen (plus Yamagata and Akita)
  • Hokkaido Shinkansen
  • Joetsu Shinkansen
  • Hokuriku Shinkansen
  • Kyushu Shinkansen
  • Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen
Bullet train at the train station in Japan

Shinkansen Seat Lessons

Shinkansen trains supply three primary seat courses: Unusual, Inexperienced Automobile, and Gran Class.

Unusual seats are akin to financial system class, offering primary consolation. Inexperienced Automobile seats resemble enterprise class with added facilities and area, whereas Gran Class presents a luxurious expertise much like top quality. All seat courses permit the seats to be rotated 180 levels to make sure passengers can at all times face the path of journey.

Moreover, seats might be adjusted to face one another, which is right for teams. Seat configurations usually are 2×2 in Inexperienced Automobile and Gran Class, with a 3×2 configuration extra widespread in Unusual Class.

Shinkansen highspeed trains in Japan

Learn how to Reserve Seats on the Bullet Practice

Shinkansen trains supply each non-reserved and reserved seating in separate automobiles. Sure providers require reservations, and a few could swap to totally reserved throughout nationwide holidays such because the New 12 months, Obon, or Golden Week, so it’s essential to test earlier than you journey.

In case you are touring with a Japan Rail Move, one of many nice benefits is the flexibility to make advance seat reservations at no extra price. Seats might be reserved at Midori no Mado Guchi ticket workplaces, that are identifiable by their inexperienced indicators, or at Journey Service Centres and JR-associated Journey Businesses.

For a number of years, JR East has been the one service offering a web based English language reservation system accessible from outdoors Japan, whereas all different strains require reservations to be made in individual as soon as in Japan.

To order a seat, merely current your JR Move on the Midori no Mado Guchi, specify your practice and desire for smoking or non-smoking, and you’ll obtain your reserved seat ticket. Simply present your Japan Rail Move on the ticket gate, proceed to your platform, and make sure to preserve maintain of your ticket as you may have to current each your JR Move and seat reservation to the ticket inspector.

Boarding the Shinkansen

Boarding a Shinkansen is simple: upon arriving on the station, move by the common ticket gates, head to the Shinkansen platform, and move by the Shinkansen ticket gates to your platform.

Your carriage quantity will probably be indicated in your ticket, with carriage numbers additionally marked on the bottom and on indicators overhead (non-reserve carriages are usually numbered 1-5). Line up behind the white line and wait in your practice. Upon its arrival, enter and discover your seat (seat numbers are indicated above the home windows).

Should you’re in an unreserved carriage, it’s possible you’ll sit in any accessible seat. As soon as settled, merely chill out and revel in your journey!

Shinkansen highspeed trains in Japan

What’s the Baggage Allowance on the Shinkansen?

When boarding the Shinkansen, passengers could carry as much as two items of bags on board freed from cost. The mixed size, width, and top of every bag should not exceed 250 centimeters, with no particular person facet longer than two meters, and the burden should not exceed 30 kilograms.

Baggage measuring lower than 160 cm (mixed dimensions) might be introduced on board with out prior reservation. For baggage between 160 cm and 250 cm, a previous reservation is required, which might be made for gratis. Failure to order upfront could lead to a 1,000 yen wonderful, and the baggage could also be relocated by the practice conductor. Baggage exceeding 250 centimeters just isn’t permitted on the practice and would require different transport preparations.

Reservations might be made through the Eki-Internet App, at ticket machines, or in individual at ticket counters. In case you are utilizing a JR Move, it’s advisable to make each your seat and baggage reservations concurrently.

Basic Shinkansen Guidelines

Touring on the Shinkansen, like several public transportation, comes with its personal etiquette:

  • Free Wi-Fi: Most Shinkansen trains supply free Wi-Fi entry (be taught extra about Wi-Fi access in Japan)
  • Bento Bins: A choice of trains present boxed meals (bento) for buy.
  • No-Smoking: Smoking is prohibited on all Shinkansen trains.
  • Queueing: Passengers are anticipated to kind orderly strains to facilitate secure and environment friendly boarding.
  • Telephones on Silent: Maintain cellphones on silent mode and keep away from taking calls within the seating space. Should you should take a name, use the designated spots between automobiles.
  • Use of Headphones: To take care of a cushty setting, passengers ought to use headphones when listening to music or watching movies.
  • Baggage Necessities: Consult with the baggage coverage detailed above for measurement and weight restrictions and test the JR Group web site for updates.
Inside a train in Japan

How To Purchase Tickets to Journey on the Shinkansen Excessive-Velocity Practice

  • Ticket Buy: You should buy common Shinkansen tickets at ticket counters, through ticket machines, and on-line.
  • JR Move: The JR Move presents limitless journey on Japan’s home rail community and is accessible for buy on-line. It may be used on all Shinkansen practice strains, though a supplemental price is required for the Nozomi and Mizuho trains. As famous earlier, JR Move holders additionally profit from complimentary seat reservations. The JR Pass can be purchased for 7, 14, or 21 days, relying on the period of your keep and your journey plans.
Getting tickets for the Shinkansen highspeed trains in Japan

Buy your JR Pass directly with the operator

High 5 Shinkansen Details

Japan’s exceptional Shinkansen trains are celebrated for far more than their iconic look. Listed below are our high 5 details about Shinkansen:

  1. Spectacular Passenger Numbers: In its debut 12 months, the Shinkansen transported 11 million passengers. Right this moment, it carries over 150 million passengers yearly.
  2. Document-Breaking Velocity: Identified for his or her velocity, Shinkansen continues to interrupt information. The Alpha-X, one among Japan’s quickest trains, can journey from Tokyo to Sapporo in simply three hours—a journey that beforehand took seven hours. This 10-car experimental bullet practice, operated by JR-East on the Tohoku Shinkansen line, can attain speeds as much as 400 km/h.
  3. Unmatched Security: Regardless of their velocity, Shinkansen trains boast a formidable security report with no passenger fatalities in practically 50 years of operation. They’re geared up with superior security options, reminiscent of computerized air brakes for earthquakes, full energetic suspension, and a brand new ATC braking system in fashions just like the N700S Supreme Shinkansen. The Alpha-X additionally incorporates modern security applied sciences, together with air brakes on the roof and magnetic plates close to the rails.
  4. Unbelievable Punctuality: Shinkansen trains are so environment friendly that the common delay per practice is simply 12 seconds.
  5. Eco-Pleasant Journey: Shinkansen are considerably extra environmentally pleasant in comparison with airplanes, producing 92% much less carbon emissions per seat.

These details spotlight not solely the technological marvels of the Shinkansen but additionally their important function in Japan’s transportation infrastructure and environmental efforts.

View of a mountain from inside a train in Japan

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