Overviews of Shinkansen the bullet train in Japan

Overview of Shinkansen

The bullet train in Japan is called the Shinkansen.

IT is operated by JR-Lines groups.

There are 6 companies in the JR-Lines which runs public transportation.

The Shinkansen runs all around major cities in Japan by 5 of the JR-Lines.

Most people in Japan prefer using the Shinkansen more than Airlines.

It is because really simple to ride and faster than planes.

Max operation speeds

Here is a list for bullet train speed by each Shinkansen line.

Shinkansen LineMax SpeedMajor city
Toukaido285km/hTokyo to Osaka
Sanyo300km/hOsaka to Hakata
Touhoku320km/hTokyo to Aomori
Jyoetsu240km/hTakasaki to Niigata
Hokuriku260km/hTakasaki to Kanazawa
Kyushu260km/hHakata to Kagoshima
Hokkaido260km/hAomori to Hakodate

Each line has features like lines which run in cities that have heavy snowfalls are slower.

Most lines have different types of cars.

Time required and fee

FromToDurationNon Researved SeatResearved Seat

It may be better to fly if you are going far than Hiroshima from Tokyo.


In 1995, a 17 year old student was dragged along the plat form.

He was rushing to get on the train before the door closes and got his finger stuck in the door.

No one took notice and was dragged 160 meters and after falling of the platform he was ran over by the train.

This is first and only casualty by the Shinkansen in Japan.
(Not counting suicides. Suicides happen about once a year.)

Shinkansen is a safe choice for transportation.

How to ride the Shinkansen

You can buy tickets at the JR Stations.

It is better to avoid Friday and Monday because it is crowded with business men.

There are basely three types of tickets that you can get for the Shinkansen.

Non reserved Seat

It is the cheapest ticket but you may not have a seat when it is crowded.

On the other hand, you are free ride any time for 1 or 2 days after you buy the ticket.

Reserved Seat

Your guaranteed for a seat by paying for a reserved set.

Your seat is booked for date and time of the Shinkansen.

In case you missed the train, you are able to ride the non-reserved seat only for the same day.

Green Seat

It is like the First Class seat in airplanes.

All seats are reserved and costs about 30% to 40% more than the non reserved seat.

The Green Seat is very quiet and mostly only few people are in the car.

Buying Shinkansen tickets on the internet

Sad to say but buying tickets online is not available for foreign tourists.

It is not impossible but the service is only in Japanese and a credit card only for Shinkansen specialized is needed.

I hope this service gets better before the Olympic in Tokyo 2020.


If you are visiting and want to visit more than one major city, I recommend that you try the Shinkansen.

I see a lot of tourists on the Shinkansen.

I may cost a bit but is safe and comfortable.

Riding the Shinkansen may be a good memory for your trip in Japan.


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