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Shinkansen Bullet Train

Shinkansen, also known as a bullet train, is the most convenient kind of transportation while traveling in Japan. With Shinkansen travelers have access to any part of Japan, including the Honshu Island, Hokkaido, and Kyushu. The first Shinkansen was built 55 years ago in 1964. Shinkansen has been improving throughout the years and today it has become tourists' favorite traveling tool.

The first Shinkansen in the country, Tokaido Shinkansen connects Tokyo and Osaka (Shin-Osaka station). This line also allows passengers to stop by popular cities such as Yokohama, Nagoya, and Kyoto. With a total distance of 552.6 km, this route can be completed in about 2.5 hours by the train traveling up to 285 km/hour. The second Shinkansen, Sanyo Shinkansen, was opened to the public in 1975. Sanyo Shinkansen runs from Osaka(Shin-Osaka Station) to Fukuoka (Hakata Station). Totaling 644 km, this route is traveled by train at a maximum speed of 300 km/hour per hour. Completed in 2004 and 2011 respectively, the southern and northern segments of Kyushu Shinkansen connect Fukuoka (Hakata Station) to Kagoshima (Kagoshima-Chuo Station).

Tohoku Shinkansen was initiated in 1982 and completed in 2010 at Aomori. The total distance from Tokyo to Aomori (Shin-Aomori Station) amounts to 713.7 km, and the max speed of the train is 320 km/hour. As subdivisions of Tohoku Shinkansen, Akita Shinkansen and Yamagata Shinkansen were modified from regular railroad to 1435 mm Shikansen rail. Akita Shinkansen runs from Morioka to Akita, while Yamagata Shinkansen travels from Fukushima to Yamagata and lastly to Shinjo. Because of their distance, these two Shinkansens are also known as the mini shinkansens. Joetsu Shinkansen joins Tokyo and Niigata and was put into service starting 1982. Travelers often use Joetsu Shinkansen to travel to Gunma and Niigata for hot springs and skiing. Hokuriku Shinkansen runs from Kanazawa to Tokyo. The segment from Tokyo to Nagano was first added in 1997 due to demand during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. The entire route to Kanazawa was not completed until 2015. Hokkaido Shinkansen commutes between Aomori (Shin-Aomori Station) to Hakodate (Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station). The total distance is 148.8 km, and the highest speed of the train can reach 260 km/hour. This Shinkansen route is still in the works, and the entire route is projected to be completed in 2030.

When booking Shinkansen, passengers can choose from Ordinary, Green Car, and sometime Gran Class Car.  Like airlines having different cabins, Shinkansens offer different types of seats that travelers can pay extra to get a more spacious seat.  Also, passengers can choose to reserve their seat in advance with an additional fee.  If you are interested in purchasing a Shinkansen (bullet train) ticket, please contact our representative for assistance.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

  • When will my tickets be delivered to the hotel?
    A week before your check-in date, we will ship your tickets so that you can collect them upon checking in. The ticket should be delivered to your hotel within a day or two.
  • How many days ahead of time can I order a ticket online?
    There is no limit to a time frame to order your tickets in advance online. You can purchase the tickets when you have planned your trip and created a schedule, even if it is more than a year ahead.

    However, please note for shipping to any address in Japan, an order should be made three days before your departure date, since there will not be enough time for your tickets to be delivered if you order less than two days before your departure date.

    For international shipping, we recommend you order more than two weeks before your departure to Japan to make sure you receive your ticket.
  • I lost my Shinkansen ticket. Can my ticket be reissued?
    No, we cannot reissue tickets, even at JR if you have lost your ticket. It is your responsibility to keep your tickets safe. Any problems that occur after the delivery is made is the responsibility of the customer.
  • Which station can I use my Shinkansen ticket to/from?
    If your ticket's origin/destination is "City Zone", your Shinkansen tickets include local train rides within the big cities before or after riding the Shinkansen on the same date.

    The "City Zones" are valid to Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima, Kita-Kyusyu, and Fukuoka.

    For example, you can start using your Shinkansen ticket from any stations in central Tokyo, like Shibuya or Shinjuku, and use the local JR train to go to the Tokyo station. Then you can ride the Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka station, and switch to the local JR train to any station within the central Osaka area.
  • How many hours before the departure time should I arrive at the station?
    Most Shinkansen trains depart on time. Arriving at the platform 5 minutes before the departure time should be okay.

    However, note that stations, where Shinkansen stops are stopped, are quite complicated to navigate with many platforms if it's your first time visiting. We recommend arriving at the station at least 30 minutes before your departure time.

    Usually, you can board your train 5 to 10 minutes before your departure time.
  • I missed my train, what should I do?
    If you missed your train, your ticket can still be used for unreserved seats (in an unreserved cabin) of later trains on the same day without reissuing the ticket or visiting a ticket counter. Please ask the station staff if you have any questions.
  • Can I bring luggage on Shinkansen? If so, how many?
    Yes, there are spaces available above your seats where you can put small to medium-sized items (such as carry-on luggage and coats). However, please remember that spaces are limited, especially during busier times. There is no charge for taking luggage onto the Shinkansen.

    To be specific, each passenger can bring up to 2 pieces of luggage weighing less than 30kg and is shorter than 250 cm, and length should not be more than 200cm.

    Depending on the cabin, there may be designated spaces to put bigger luggage. If you will have bigger luggage to bring on board, please request the seats in the last row upon placing your order.
  • Can I eat on the Shinkansen? Is there a meal service?
    Yes, you can both eat and drink in the Shinkansen. Shinkansen tickets do not include meal services. There are onboard sales in the Shinkansen, but the selection is very limited.

    It is recommended that you buy food and drinks at the departure station beforehand, where there is a larger selection of bento boxes and other food and drinks.
  • Where does the Shinkansen go?
    The nine Shinkansen lines all go in different directions around Japan. From Tokyo to south of the Tokaido Shinkansen line, connects the capital with Osaka. The Sanyo Shinkansen line connects Osaka with Fukuoka and the Kyushu Shinkansen line runs north to south through the island of Kyushu.
  • What station is Shinkansen in Tokyo?
    The two Shinkansen terminals in Tokyo are at "Tokyo" and "Shinagawa" stations. There are no Shinkansen terminals at the Shinjuku station. Tokyo station is the main Shinkansen terminal and connects to Tokaido (Kyoto and Osaka), Tohoku (Shin-Aomori), Joetsu (Niigata), and Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train lines.
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