The 3 Trains of the Tokaido Shinkansen
Tokaido Shinkansen: the most popular shinkansen in Japan
The bullet train going from Tokyo to Osaka has three different lines. What's the difference? Read more to find out. Japan Rail Pass - available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes!
There are three trains that travel on the Tokaido Shinkansen line: the Nozomi, the Hikari, and the Kodama. Some of these trains are faster than others, and some you cannot use with your Japan Rail Pass.
Here is a brief overview to help you plan your travels.
The Hikari Shinkansen
If you travel from Tokyo to Kyoto with a Japan Rail Pass, you will probably ride a Hikari.
The Hikari Shinkansen is the second fastest bullet train, taking about 3 hours from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka. Hikari Shinkansen run about every 30 minutes (please check timetables for details). It stops at all the major cities (Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka), and it makes just a few extra stops along the way. However, which stations it stops at varies by train, so be sure to check the schedules.
The Kodama Shinkansen
This train is the slowest of the three Tokaido shinkansen. It stops at every station on the line, including a few famous hot springs!
You can use this train with a Japan Rail Pass.
The Nozomi Shinkansen
The Nozomi Shinkansen is the fastest train, going from one end to the other in 2 hours and 40 minutes. It makes the least amount of stops, only stopping in Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Shin-Osaka. Unfortunately, you cannot use this train with a Japan Rail Pass. The good news is, there's not much of a difference between the Nozomi and the Hikari!
Luggages along the Tokaido Line
Starting from May 2020, a seat reservation near the luggage area will be required in the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu lines if the sum of the dimensions of your luggage exceeds 160 cm.