What you should know about riding the Shinkansen in Japan

As we all know, Japan is a very modern and well-developed country. During my two weeks travels around this beautiful country I had a chance to use the fastest, the cleanest and the best train in the world – “Shinkansen.”  I was always fascinated by Japanese culture, food, and history. Since I had a chance to work and live in China, this beautiful country was on my list. Finally last month I made my dream come true and went for a trip of my life! During two weeks I have visited beautiful cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Nara and more!

The “Shinkansen,” also known as “Bullet Train” is the fastest and the most comfortable of Japan’s trains. It is also the most famous express train that travels the maximum speed of 320km / hr! The famous Shinkansen is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan. In the early days, the Shinkansen had a top speed of 200 km/h (125 mph) and now it speed is 300 km/h. Every day it’s getting faster and faster.

Shinkansen Japan

During your journey in Shinkansen, you can relax, have a meal or just sit and admire beautiful views. You have a unique chance to look from your window at small towns and bigger cities during your train rides and admire beautiful nature.

Using Shinkansen is very easy. All the announcements on board are in English so that you won’t miss your train station. But be careful – you have a couple of minutes at your stop before train will leave – they are very punctual so do not miss your train station cause next one might be 400 km away 🙂 Average delays are less than a minute, so I’m impressed 🙂

The first part of the line was completed between Tokyo and Osaka in 1964 (the same year when Tokyo Olympics had a place).

16-car trains on “Tokaido Shinkansen” can accommodate up to 1,323 passengers. There are also a lot of special seats for disabled passengers. All Shinkansen seats are very comfortable, and you have a lot of space for your legs and to have a nice nap. All the seats inside the trains can also recline, and you can move the seat bottom forward or backward to make yourself even more comfortable 🙂

As easy as, one:


IMG_6667.jpgThree 🙂

Now you can stay and chat with your family or friend whole the journey 🙂

IMG_6668.jpgTrains can get really busy sometimes (especially during summer time when the tourists from all over the world are coming to Japan) so make sure to reserve your seats!IMG_5535.jpgEvery car has an information presenting a map of the train and showing where you can find washrooms, telephone, crew or even a smoking room.

IMG_6672.jpgEvery car has a trash, telephone and in every second you can find a washroom:


If your luggage is too big to put it above your head (do not try to put there a big suitcase cause it might be dangerous if the train has to stop unexpectedly) you can always find a space behind last row seats.

Tickets are written in Japanese or English. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find an English version of my card, so I have made a little help for all of you if it comes to find where are your car and seat number 🙂


Shinkansen’s different lines are operated by different companies:

Tokaido Shinkansen (from Tokyo to Osaka via Yokohama, Nagoya, and Kyoto) The fastest train is called Nozomi and the trip from Tokyo to Osaka is 2 hours 22 minutes. The same distance with Hikari train takes about 3 hours, and with the Kodama train for 4 hours. The Distance is 552.6 km, and the top speed is 285 km/h.

Sanyo Shinkansen (from Osaka to Hakata via Okayama, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi). The route is 644km, and the top speed is 300km/h. The train will take you from Osaka to Hakata in 2 h 22 m.

Kyushu Shinkansen – Kagoshima Route (from Hakata to Kagoshima Chuo). The distance is 288.9 km, and the top speed is 260 km/h. The train will take you from Hakata to Kagoshima Chuo in 1 h 17 m.

Tohoku Shinkansen (from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori) Distance is 713.7 km, and the top speed is 320 km/h. It will take you from Tokyo to Sendai in 1 h 31 m and from Tokyo–to Shin-Aomori in 2 h 59 m.

Joetsu Shinkansen (from Tokyo to Niigata) The distance is 333.9 km, and the top speed is 240 km/h. It will take you from Tokyo to Niigata in 1 h 37 m.

Hokuriku Shinkansen (from Tokyo to Kanazawa). The distance is 450.5 km, 260 km/h, and it will take you from Tokyo to Nagano in 1 h 20 m and from Tokyo to Kanazawa in 2 h 28 m.

Yamagata Shinkansen (from Fukushima to Shinjō)The distance is 148.6 km, and the top speed is 130 km/h. Train from Tokyo to Yamagata will take you in 2 h 26 m, and from Tokyo to Shinjo in 3 h 11 m.

Hokkaidō Shinkansen (from Shin-Aomori to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto). The distance is 148.8 km, and the top speed is 260 km/h. It will take you from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto in 4 h 2 m.

Akita Shinkansen (Morioka–Akita). The distance is 127.3 km.


Usually, I don’t like to eat on the train because they might be or too dirty or there is no table where you can put your food. In Shinkansen eating your breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a snack is a pleasure. Very popular is buying a bento box (packed lunch) that comes with different kinds of food. You can also buy something on board from a salesperson who is walking on the train and pushing a cart with a lot of various snacks, drinks, and food. As for my lunch, I had a salmon with rice and a few Japanese snacks which were tasty. You can also buy food at the train station as I did. They always have a lot of little convenience stores where you can buy cold or even hot dishes to eat during your ride.




I hope you liked my post. If you have any other questions concerning taking trains in Japan, let me know 🙂



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  1. Wow, I haven’t been to Japan yet, and this one seemed to be really an exciting thing to experience in Japan. I like how you were able to write your review about this shinkansen. it is very detailed. I like the interior color since blue is my favorite color. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.


  2. My mouth dropped when I saw the food. I have NEVER seen such a nice meal on a train! I love how you’ve shown what it’s like to ride this bullet train — I’ve been hearing about it a lot lately, but this is the best write-up I’ve seen 🙂


  3. AllGudThings

    Oh! I was already impressed with japan’s beauty and now it is technology! The train looks super comfortable, has good leg space, rotatable seats and running at that speed. Food too looks yummy. A great write up on the train.


  4. We absolutely loved taking the bullet train in Japan as well! It’s so amazing how fast it goes–it made the trips go by so quick and we were always impressed with how clean and timely the trains were. Great write up on what it’s like to take the train–the ticket breakdown is super helpful too!


  5. Jetsettera

    The Shinkansen looks very modern and comfy. It looks like the food you got on the train was tasty too. I think this is even better than the Eurostar here in London. It must have been a great ride!


  6. That must be an exciting journey – food, washrooms, all so clean and neat. I traveled on a night train a few times – in Ukraine and Kazakhstan and surprisingly, although the train was old, it was a nice journey – so cheap and with beds 🙂 I’d love to try the train in Japan!


  7. The train looks awesome, but I was blown away to see the photos of how you can simply turn the seats around to face each other. That is brilliant! I recently moved to Germany (I am from the USA..) and have been super happy with German and European trains. But I think that I will not have truly ridden a train until I get to Japan! From the food, to the seats, and the speed.. they look just amazing!


  8. tatumskipper

    I really wish America would dabble more into these kinds of things across states rather than everyone always having to use their car. I will agree that almost all trains overseas are very punctual so being on time is key!


  9. The Lavish Nomad

    I’m really impressed by how they are increasing the speed of the train. Also quite impressed by the way you can turn your sets to get a view of the window, saves a lot of neck pain haha


  10. I took the Shinkansen when I visited Japan at 15, and it was the highlight of my trip to take the bullet train! Those doors don’t wait for anything though – a woman who was boarding at the last minute had her umbrella wedged in the closed doors the whole trip! But definitely the most efficient system of transportation in the world 🙂


  11. Cat

    I took the Shinkansen once when visiting Japan few years ago. I love how you can turn the row of seats around so you can chat with your friends and family. The washroom is quite spacious too!


  12. Ah the beauty of Japan. Shinkasen were my favourite while going to Kyoto/Osaka or other for areas when we were in Japan. That Lemon tea also used to be my favourite. I miss living in Japan. 😦


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