The 50-Year History of the Shinkansen
Japanese bullet train
The shinkansen turned 50 years old this year! Learn about its history here. Japan Rail Pass - Available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes.
Did you know the system celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014?
A Shinkansen timeline
- 1959 - It wasn't until two decades after original planning that ground first broke. In 1959, there was a ground breaking ceremony near what is now Mishima Station. And they worked fast-- it only took 5 years to finish this line!
- October 1st, 1964 - The first (two) shinkansen ran on this day at 6 am. One Hikari bullet train started from Shin-Osaka, and the other from Tokyo.
- 1975: The Sanyo Shinkansen, going from Osaka, passing through Hiroshima, and ending in Hakata (Fukuoka) first debuted.
- 1985: The second type of shinkansen, the 100 series, was inaugurated. Green class cars were also introduced on these new models.
- 1992 - The Nozomi shinkansen debuted, cutting time between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka even shorter.
- 1997 - The 500 series was introduced as the "faster-ever shinkansen".
- 1997 - The Akita and Nagano shinkansen debuted, just in time for the 1998 winter olympics. - How to go from Tokyo to Nagano ?
- 2015 - The Nagano Shinkansen line have a new extension providing service to Kanazawa. The new trains is called the Hokuriku Shinkansen. - How to go from Nagano to Kanazawa ?
- 2016 - Since March 26,2016, travellers can reach Shin-Hakodate and the Hokkaido Island in 4 hours from Tokyo with the Hokkaido Shinkansen.
- 2018 - JR Central Japan Railway Co. and JR East announced that they will launch a free Wi-Fi service on its Tohoku, Hokuriku and Akita Shinkansen lines and on Tokaido lines.