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

Japan’s iconic bullet trains, generally known as the Shinkansen, are world-famous—and for good cause. The Shinkansen high-speed trains are quick, futuristic, environment friendly, protected, and comfy, 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 presents the additional benefit of enabling you to achieve locations throughout this spectacular nation.

In our full information to experiencing Japan’s Shinkansen high-speed trains, we’ll present all the things you might want to find out about touring by rail in Japan. From reserving seats to exploring essentially the most cost-effective ticket choices with the JR Move for limitless journey, the most recent routes, enjoyable information, and way more—All aboard!


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

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

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

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

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

Extra 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 sequence. 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 principal islands from Sapporo within the north to Kagoshima within the south. These unbelievable high-speed trains cease at almost all main Japanese cities—Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, and plenty of others—throughout varied interconnecting Shinkansen traces and prepare classes. With only a few exceptions, these traces are solely for Shinkansen trains, making just about no metropolis off-limits, particularly when paired with a Japan Rail Move. This particular ticket presents limitless journey on your complete nationwide JR community, together with the high-speed Shinkansen traces.

The Tokaido Shinkansen, arguably the nation’s hottest line, travels from Tokyo by means of Kyoto to Osaka, servicing a number of main cities alongside a route of historic significance since feudal Japan, initially important for commerce. Right this moment, 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 means of Okayama and Hiroshima, and generally known as the ‘spine of the JR railways’. It presents 5 varieties 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 long-lasting design has regularly advanced for the reason that Sixties, and extra not too long ago, it has been refined into varied aerodynamic nostril shapes, together with a duck-billed design, to mitigate the noise subject brought on by sonic booms when passing by means of tunnels.

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

Shinkansen high-speed trains in Japan

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

If you happen to’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 basic Shinkansen journey ideas to make sure a clean expertise.

Highspeed trains in Japan

Listing 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 Lessons

Shinkansen trains provide three principal seat lessons: Bizarre, Inexperienced Automotive, and Gran Class.

Bizarre seats are akin to financial system class, offering fundamental consolation. Inexperienced Automotive seats resemble enterprise class with added facilities and house, whereas Gran Class presents a luxurious expertise much like first-class. All seat lessons permit the seats to be rotated 180 levels to make sure passengers can all the time face the path 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 widespread in Bizarre Class.

Shinkansen highspeed trains in Japan

Tips on how to Reserve Seats on the Bullet Prepare

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

If you’re touring with a Japan Rail Move, one of many nice benefits is the power to make advance seat reservations at no further 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 Businesses.

For a number of years, JR East has been the one service offering an internet English language reservation system accessible from exterior Japan, whereas all different traces require reservations to be made in particular person as soon as in Japan.

To order a seat, merely current your JR Move 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 Move on the ticket gate, proceed to your platform, and make sure to maintain 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 easy: upon arriving on the station, go by means of the common ticket gates, head to the Shinkansen platform, and go by means of the Shinkansen ticket gates to your platform.

Your carriage quantity will likely 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).

If you happen to’re in an unreserved carriage, you might sit in any obtainable seat. As soon as settled, merely calm down and luxuriate in your journey!

Shinkansen highspeed trains in Japan

What’s the Baggage Allowance on the Shinkansen?

When boarding the Shinkansen, passengers could convey 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 aspect longer than two meters, and the burden should not exceed 30 kilograms.

Luggage 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 for free of charge. Failure to order upfront could lead to a 1,000 yen fantastic, and the baggage could also be relocated by the prepare conductor. Baggage exceeding 250 centimeters just 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 particular person at ticket counters. If you’re utilizing a JR Move, it’s advisable to make each your seat and baggage reservations concurrently.

Common Shinkansen Guidelines

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

  • Free Wi-Fi: Most Shinkansen trains provide free Wi-Fi entry (study 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 traces to facilitate protected and environment friendly boarding.
  • Telephones on Silent: Maintain cell phones on silent mode and keep away from taking calls within the seating space. If you happen to should take a name, use the designated spots between automobiles.
  • Use of Headphones: To keep up a cushty setting, passengers ought to use headphones when listening to music or watching movies.
  • Baggage Necessities: Seek advice from the baggage coverage detailed above for dimension 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-Pace Prepare

  • 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 obtainable for buy on-line. It may be used on all Shinkansen prepare traces, though a supplemental payment is required for the Nozomi and Mizuho trains. As famous earlier, JR Move holders additionally profit from complimentary seat reservations. The JR Move could be bought 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

Purchase your JR Move instantly with the operator

Prime 5 Shinkansen Details

Japan’s outstanding Shinkansen trains are celebrated for way more than their iconic look. Listed here are our prime 5 information about Shinkansen:

  1. Spectacular Passenger Numbers: In its debut yr, the Shinkansen transported 11 million passengers. Right this moment, it carries over 150 million passengers yearly.
  2. Document-Breaking Pace: Recognized for his or her velocity, Shinkansen continues to interrupt information. The Alpha-X, considered one 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 formidable security file with no passenger fatalities in almost 50 years of operation. They’re outfitted with superior security options, comparable to automated air brakes for earthquakes, full lively suspension, and a brand new ATC braking system in fashions just like the N700S Supreme Shinkansen. The Alpha-X additionally incorporates progressive 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 common 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 information spotlight not solely the technological marvels of the Shinkansen but in addition their vital function in Japan’s transportation infrastructure and environmental efforts.

View of a mountain from inside a train in Japan

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