Japanese Bullet Trains
The fastest way to discover Japan
The best way to travel around Japan is on a high speed Bullet Train. Order your Japan Rail Pass today online!
These trains are a big hit with tourists in Japan, they are easy to access with very good signposting in the stations. Inside the carraiges there is a digital information system in both Japanese and English which shows upcoming stops as well as the estimated arrival time.
Using your Japan Rail Pass
The JR Pass allows you easy access to the Shinkansen Bullet Trains with just a quick check of your pass at the ticket gate.
The Shinkansen have reserved seat carriages ('shitei-seki') and unreserved seat carriages ('jiyu-seki').
As a Japan Rail Pass holder you can make seat reservations free of charge before your journey but it is not manatory.
Seat reservations are advised in periods of high demand such as cherry blossom, (late March - early April), Golden Week (late April - early May), Obon (mid-August) and New Year.
Green Pass and First Class
The 'Green Pass' gives you access to the 'Green Car', the equivalent of our First Class, without any additional fee.
The 'Green car' provides a large seat that can recline 40°, a footrest, more space between the seats, an integrated radio set and space for your luggage.
in recent years, newer models of train have introduced a new class for the ultimate bullet train travel: the Gran Class. This new first-class train travel whose name was inspired by the French word for "big", started in 2011 on the Tohoku Shinkansen.
Japan was the first country to create a high-speed rail network. It was in 1964, on the occasion of the Tokyo Olympics that the first Shinkansen line was inaugurated.
This stretch of approximately 500km was constructed between the capital, Tokyo and Shin-Osaka following the ancient Tokaido route.
The service was an immediate success, reaching the 100 million passenger mark in less than three years.
The Shinkansen bullet trains serve all major cities on the main island of Honshu and also on Kyushu. There are no Shinkansen in Shikoku and none in the Okinawan islands.
Future Shinkansen Extensions
- Hokuriku Shinkansen: The extension of this Shinkansen line connecting Tokyo to Kanazawa opened in March 2015, it will then be further extended to Tsuruga in 2025.
- Hokkaido Shinkansen: This extension is in operation since march 2016 and reach Shin Hakodate. Second stage from Shin Hakodate to Sapporo will be fully operational in 2035.
- Kyushu Shinkansen: This extension, allowing high-speed travel to Nagasaki, is planned to open in 2023.
- Chuo Shinkansen: this new line will mostly run underground using Maglev technology allowing speeds of up to 500km/h. The first section between Tokyo and Nagoya is scheduled for completion in 2027 with a second section reaching Osaka in 2045.