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

Japan’s iconic bullet trains, often known 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 change 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 achieve locations throughout this spectacular nation.

In our full information to experiencing Japan’s Shinkansen high-speed trains, we’ll present the whole lot you want to learn about touring by rail in Japan. From reserving seats to exploring essentially the most cost-effective ticket choices with the JR Cross for limitless journey, the latest routes, enjoyable details, and rather more—All aboard!


Get Your JR Cross

We extremely advocate getting the JR Cross 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, notably useful for long-distance and a number of journeys.

Simplicity: Keep away from the trouble of buying particular person tickets through the use of your cross 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 providers.

Get your JR Cross now!

What’s the Shinkansen Excessive-Pace Prepare?

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 which means ‘new trunk line,’ the time period Shinkansen has been extra generally used for many years to confer 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 important 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 traces and practice classes. With only a few exceptions, these traces are solely for Shinkansen trains, making nearly no metropolis off-limits, particularly when paired with a Japan Rail Cross. 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 via Kyoto to Osaka, servicing a number of main cities alongside a route of historic significance since feudal Japan, initially important for commerce. At present, 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 via Okayama and Hiroshima, and often known as the ‘spine of the JR railways’. It presents 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 practice named ‘Kagome’, which means ‘seagull’.

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

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 developed because the Nineteen 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 attributable to sonic booms when passing via tunnels.

One of many newest fashions is the N700S ‘Supreme’ Shinkansen, operated by JR Central on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen traces. This practice 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

In case you’re visiting Japan for the primary time, navigating the nation’s distinctive rail community might sound 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 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 Lessons

Shinkansen trains supply three important seat courses: Odd, Inexperienced Automobile, and Gran Class.

Odd seats are akin to economic system class, offering fundamental consolation. Inexperienced Automobile seats resemble enterprise class with added facilities and house, whereas Gran Class presents a luxurious expertise just like firstclass. All seat courses enable the seats to be rotated 180 levels to make sure passengers can all the time face the course of journey.

Moreover, seats could be adjusted to face one another, which is good for teams. Seat configurations usually are 2×2 in Inexperienced Automobile and Gran Class, with a 3×2 configuration extra widespread in Odd 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 providers require reservations, and a few might swap to completely reserved throughout nationwide holidays such because the New 12 months, Obon, or Golden Week, so it’s essential to examine earlier than you journey.

In case you are touring with a Japan Rail Cross, one of many nice benefits is the power to make advance seat reservations at no further value. Seats could be reserved at Midori no Mado Guchi ticket places of work, 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 traces require reservations to be made in particular person as soon as in Japan.

To order a seat, merely current your JR Cross 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 Cross on the ticket gate, proceed to your platform, and remember to preserve maintain of your ticket as you would possibly must current each your JR Cross and seat reservation to the ticket inspector.

Boarding the Shinkansen

Boarding a Shinkansen is easy: upon arriving on the station, cross via the common ticket gates, head to the Shinkansen platform, and cross via 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).

In case you’re in an unreserved carriage, chances are you’ll sit in any obtainable seat. As soon as settled, merely loosen up and luxuriate 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 top of every bag should not exceed 250 centimeters, with no particular person aspect longer than two meters, and the load 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 upfront might end in a 1,000 yen tremendous, and the baggage could also be relocated by the practice conductor. Baggage exceeding 250 centimeters shouldn’t be permitted on the practice and would require various transport preparations.

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

Normal Shinkansen Guidelines

Touring on the Shinkansen, like all 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 choice of trains present boxed meals (bento) for buy.
  • No-Smoking: Smoking is prohibited on all Shinkansen trains.
  • Queueing: Passengers are anticipated to type orderly traces 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. In case you should take a name, use the designated spots between vehicles.
  • 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 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 Cross: The JR Cross presents limitless journey on Japan’s home rail community and is out there for buy on-line. It may be used on all Shinkansen practice traces, though a supplemental payment is required for the Nozomi and Mizuho trains. As famous earlier, JR Cross holders additionally profit from complimentary seat reservations. The JR Cross 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 Cross instantly with the operator

High 5 Shinkansen Information

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

  1. Spectacular Passenger Numbers: In its debut yr, the Shinkansen transported 11 million passengers. At present, 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, one in all 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 powerful security file with no passenger fatalities in practically 50 years of operation. They’re geared up with superior security options, similar to automated 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 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 essential function in Japan’s transportation infrastructure and environmental efforts.

View of a mountain from inside a train in Japan

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