The Full Information to Experiencing the Shinkansen Excessive-Pace Trains in Japan


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

Touring on a bullet prepare 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 affords 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 all the pieces you should find out about touring by rail in Japan. From reserving seats to exploring essentially the most cost-effective ticket choices with the JR Go for limitless journey, the latest routes, enjoyable details, and way more—All aboard!


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We extremely suggest getting the JR Go for limitless prepare 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.

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

Simplicity: Keep away from the effort of buying particular person tickets through the use of your go to simply entry trains.

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

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

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What’s the Shinkansen Excessive-Pace Prepare?

The Japanese phrase for ‘bullet prepare,’ 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 prepare collection. Though initially which means ‘new trunk line,’ the time period Shinkansen has been extra generally used for many years to consult with each the trains and the tracks they function on.

Operated by the Japan Railways (JR) Group, the nation’s Shinkansen trains join Japan’s foremost 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 plenty of others—throughout numerous interconnecting Shinkansen strains and prepare classes. With only a few exceptions, these strains are solely for Shinkansen trains, making nearly no metropolis off-limits, particularly when paired with a Japan Rail Go. This particular ticket affords limitless journey on your entire nationwide JR community, together with the high-speed Shinkansen strains.

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

One other key line is the Sanyo Shinkansen, touring by way of Okayama and Hiroshima, and referred to as the ‘spine of the JR railways’. It affords 5 kinds 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 prepare named ‘Kagome’, which 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 enduring design has frequently advanced for the reason that Sixties, and extra not too long ago, it has been refined into numerous aerodynamic nostril shapes, together with a duck-billed design, to mitigate the noise situation attributable to sonic booms when passing by way of tunnels.

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

Shinkansen high-speed trains in Japan

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

When you’re visiting Japan for the primary time, navigating the nation’s distinctive rail community may appear daunting, however it’s a lot less complicated than it seems. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless essential to do your analysis earlier than your journey. We’re right here to help with a collection of one of the best common Shinkansen journey suggestions to make sure a easy expertise.

Highspeed trains in Japan

Checklist of Shinkansen Traces

  • 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 Courses

Shinkansen trains supply three foremost seat lessons: Peculiar, Inexperienced Automotive, and Gran Class.

Peculiar seats are akin to economic system class, offering primary consolation. Inexperienced Automotive seats resemble enterprise class with added facilities and area, whereas Gran Class affords a luxurious expertise much like top quality. All seat lessons permit the seats to be rotated 180 levels to make sure passengers can all the time face the route of journey.

Moreover, seats could be adjusted to face one another, which is right for teams. Seat configurations sometimes are 2×2 in Inexperienced Automotive and Gran Class, with a 3×2 configuration extra frequent in Peculiar Class.

Shinkansen highspeed trains in Japan

Tips on how to Reserve Seats on the Bullet Prepare

Shinkansen trains supply each non-reserved and reserved seating in separate vehicles. Sure companies require reservations, and a few might change to completely reserved throughout nationwide holidays such because the New Yr, Obon, or Golden Week, so it’s essential to examine earlier than you journey.

In case you are touring with a Japan Rail Go, one of many nice benefits is the flexibility to make advance seat reservations at no extra price. Seats could 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 Companies.

For a number of years, JR East has been the one service offering a web-based English language reservation system accessible from exterior 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 Go on the Midori no Mado Guchi, specify your prepare and choice for smoking or non-smoking, and you’ll obtain your reserved seat ticket. Simply present your Japan Rail Go on the ticket gate, proceed to your platform, and make sure you preserve maintain of your ticket as you would possibly have to current each your JR Go and seat reservation to the ticket inspector.

Boarding the Shinkansen

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

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

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

Shinkansen highspeed trains in Japan

What’s the Baggage Allowance on the Shinkansen?

When boarding the Shinkansen, passengers might deliver as much as two items of luggage on board freed from cost. The mixed size, width, and peak 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) could be introduced on board with out prior reservation. For baggage between 160 cm and 250 cm, a previous reservation is required, which could be made without charge. Failure to order prematurely might lead to a 1,000 yen wonderful, and the baggage could also be relocated by the prepare conductor. Baggage exceeding 250 centimeters isn’t permitted on the prepare and would require different transport preparations.

Reservations could be made through the Eki-Internet App, at ticket machines, or in individual at ticket counters. In case you are utilizing a JR Go, 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 entry in Japan)
  • Bento Packing containers: A collection 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: Hold cell phones on silent mode and keep away from taking calls within the seating space. When you should take a name, use the designated spots between vehicles.
  • Use of Headphones: To take care of a snug atmosphere, passengers ought to use headphones when listening to music or watching movies.
  • Baggage Necessities: Confer with the baggage coverage detailed above for dimension and weight restrictions and examine the JR Group web site for updates.
Inside a train in Japan

How To Purchase Tickets to Journey on the Shinkansen Excessive-Pace Prepare

  • Ticket Buy: You should purchase common Shinkansen tickets at ticket counters, through ticket machines, and on-line.
  • JR Go: The JR Go affords limitless journey on Japan’s home rail community and is offered for buy on-line. It may be used on all Shinkansen prepare strains, though a supplemental payment is required for the Nozomi and Mizuho trains. As famous earlier, JR Go holders additionally profit from complimentary seat reservations. The JR Go could be bought for 7, 14, or 21 days, relying on the length of your keep and your journey plans.
Getting tickets for the Shinkansen highspeed trains in Japan

Purchase your JR Go immediately with the operator

High 5 Shinkansen Information

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

  1. Spectacular Passenger Numbers: In its debut yr, the Shinkansen transported 11 million passengers. As we speak, it carries over 150 million passengers yearly.
  2. Report-Breaking Pace: Recognized for his or her velocity, Shinkansen continues to interrupt data. The Alpha-X, one in every of 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 prepare, 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 powerful security document with no passenger fatalities in practically 50 years of operation. They’re geared up with superior security options, resembling 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. Unimaginable Punctuality: Shinkansen trains are so environment friendly that the typical delay per prepare 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 in addition their vital position in Japan’s transportation infrastructure and environmental efforts.

View of a mountain from inside a train in Japan

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