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All About Shinkansen, the Bullet Train


The Shinkansen is a national network of super express train run by Japan Railways. The name Shinkansen means "new trunk line" in Japanese.

Shinkansen has been built in 1964, just in time for the Tokyo Olympics, starting with Tokaido Shinkansen line. Now, the network covers most of the big cities across Japan with 2,764 km (1,717 miles) of train tracks. The maximum speed of Shinkansen is 240 to 320 km/h (150 to 200 mph) depending on cars and lines.

The world-famous bullet train is not just known for it's speed, but also for it's amazing safety record and punctuality. With careful design and precise Japanese system, average delay from schedule per train is only 54 seconds. That number even includes delays by natural disasters! Shinkasen runs on their dedicated train tracks, which contributes to the incredible departure and arrival schedule. Even after more than 50 years in operation and 10 billion travelers on Shinkansen, there is no passenger deaths due to train accidents.


Shinkansen Lines

Tokaido Shinkansen

Tokaido Shinkansen is the most popular Shinkansen line that connects Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, the top two largest cities in Japan with major tourist destinations like Kyoto and Nagoya. 東海道 (Tokaido) means east coastal road in Japanese. 


Depending on the train type, Tokaido Shinkansen stops at Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Odawara, Atami, Mishima, Shin-Fuji, Shizuoka, Kakegawa, Hamamatsu, Toyohashi, Mikawa-Anjo, Nagoya, Gifu-Hashima, Yonehara, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka.

Train Types

Nozomi: The fastest Tokaido Shinkansen which stops only at major stations.

Hikari and Kodama: Stops at more stations along the way.


Tohoku Shinkansen

Tohoku Shinkansen serves Northeastern area of Honshu island from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori with popular tourist destinations like Sendai. 東北 (tohoku) means northeast in Japanese. 


Tohoku Shinkansen stops at Tokyo, Ueno, Omiya, Fukushima, Sendai, Morioka and Shin-Aomori with many stations along the way.

Train Types

Hayabusa: The fastest Tohoku Shinkansen which stops only at major stations. 

Hayate and Yamabiko: Stops at more stations along the way.


Hokuriku Shinkansen (formerly known as Nagano Shinkansen)

Hokuriku Shinkansen runs between Tokyo and Kanazawa with the popular tourist stops at Karuizawa, Nagano and Toyama. 北陸 (hokuriku) means northern land in Japanese. Hokuriku Shinkansen was originally called Nagano Shinkansen after the famous city of 長野 (Nagano) known for the Winter Olympics. After the line was extended to Kanazawa in 2015, the line has been renamed to Hokuriku Shinkansen. 


Nagano Shinkansen stops at Tokyo, Ueno, Omiya, Takasaki, Karuizawa, Nagano and Toyama with many stations along the way.

Train Types

Hayabusa: The fastest Hokuriku Shinkansen which stops only at major stations. 

Hayate and Yamabiko: Stops at more stations along the way.


Other Shinkansen Lines

Joetsu Shinkansen

Hokkaido Shinkansen

Sanyo Shinkansen 

Kyushu Shinkansen 


Shinkansen Seat Types

Shinkansen seats are available in four levels depending on the comfort and services your require. For further information and photos, please visit official page at http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/ticket/types.html 

Unreserved Seat

You can take any open seats in dedicated unreserved cars. The best seat type if your priority is the cost and are traveling during less-crowded season/time.

Reserved Seat

Your seat is reserved and secured when you book your tickets. Head to the station with a peace of mind.

Green Reserved Seat

Better seats and free blankets. Popular among Japanese business persons, executives and people who values comfortable travel. Consider it "business class" seats.

GranClass Seat

Know as "First Class" of Shinkansen seats. Only available on Hokuriku and Tohoku Shinkansen lines. Gran Class seats comes with airline-like amenities and meals.The most expensive of all.