Shinkansen - High
Speed inter-city passenger train in Japan. The Shinkansen is known in the West
as the "Bullet Train".
Details on Shinkansen network, history, models, pictures and video.
The first line, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, was opened in 1964. The
network has since expanded to link most major cities on the islands of
Honshu and Kyushu with
running speeds of up to 300 km/h (186mph).
700 Series Shinkansen at Shin-Osaka Station
On the most-travelled Tokaido
route is Tokyo Osaka, there
are three types of Shinkansen, reflecting the number of stops that the
Nozomi - the fastest type of Shinkansen.
Pass holders cannot travel on these. All reserved seating.
- Hikari - the next fastest, still pretty fast.
- Kodama - makes more stops, and generally only cover small stretches of
the Shinkansen lines.
West Bound - Tokaido Route Shinkansen Timetable
East Bound - Tokaido Route Shinkansen Timetable
Picture: Interior of
700 Series Shinkansen. Note the aircraft style seats, but with more leg
room. Overhead shelves hold carryon style luggage.
Making a reservation
On Tokkyu and Shinkansen, some of the carriages require passengers
to have reserved their seats in advance. For example, on a typical
16-carriage Shinkansen, only five of the carriages permit non-reserved
seating, and only two of those are non-smoking. On a busy train,
making a reservation in advance can ensure a comfortable journey.
Picture: Boarding the
700 Series Shinkansen. Note the
safety railing with the carriage doors lining up.
Making a reservation is surprisingly easy, and is strongly advised for
popular journeys (such as travelling from Tokyo to
Kyoto on a Friday
evening, or taking a train from Nagoya to
Takayama). Look out for the
JR Office at the train station, which bears a little green logo of a
figure relaxing in a chair - and ask to make a reservation when you
buy your ticket. The reservation can be made anywhere from a month in
advance to literally minutes before the train leaves.
If you are a Japan Rail Pass holder, simply go to the JR Office, and
present your Rail Pass when requesting a reservation for your journey.
The ticket that you are given will not allow you to pass through the
automated barriers though - you'll still need to present your Japan
Rail Pass at the manned barrier to get to the train.
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