How to Take a Bullet Train in Japan

Travel Tips

Travel by Train in Japan like a Local

The Shinkansen is Japan’s name for the bullet train which can go as fast as 320 km/h (198 miles/h). The trains are operated by Japan Railways with lines extending through the 3 major islands, from Hokkaido through Tokyo and all the way down to Kyushu.

Why take the train instead of a domestic flight? Because it is affordable, punctual, safe, efficient, and comfortable. Japanese know how to make travel as easy as possible.

How to Take Japan Bullet Train
Japan’s Shinkansen bullet trains. Every seat is forward-facing. When the train changes directions, the cleaners spend a quick 10 minutes cleaning and wiping the seats and windows for a pleasant, hygienic journey

 

How to Buy Tickets

Tickets can be purchased at the ticket counter, vending machine, or online. Tourists are encouraged to buy a JR Pass before flying to Japan that privileges you to an unlimited number of train rides on select lines.

 

Ordinary Car vs. Green Car

The cost of a ticket starts at the regular fee, then you add more for limited express trains, more to select your seat and even more for the “Green Car” which is equivalent to Business Class. The ordinary car has regular seats with a 3×2 seat configuration. Green car has larger, more comfortable seats, with more food space and a 2×2 seat configuration.

 

Reserved vs. Non-Reserved Cars

Green cars have all reserved seats. When you receive your ticket, you will receive your designated seat number. For ordinary cars, you will add-on to the price should you want a reserved seat (which is highly encouraged during holidays). Tourists with JR Passes have the reserved seats inclusive with the cost of the package.

Japan Bullet Train Shinkansen Green Car
Seats in the Green Car. When you arrive at the station for your scheduled train, head to the Shinkansen platforms, your respective platform number, then find your train car number. When the train arrives, look for your proper seat and enjoy the ride

 

Luggage Delivery Service

The trains have limited space for luggage. Overhead fits small carry-on style bags. Larger luggage is almost discouraged, especially for ease of travel and commute.

Take advantage of Japan’s luggage delivery service, Ta-Q-Bin. If you commute from one hotel to another, your hotel can assist you with the proper forms and arrangements.

 

Stops & Sights Along the Way

Your train’s stops depend on your chosen train schedule and type of limited express. Some train cars have toilets and pay phones. There is also a roaming food and drink cart if you did not have time beforehand to purchase a bento box.

How to take Japan Bullet Train
From Tokyo to Osaka, you may be lucky to catch a quick glimpse of Mt. Fuji on the right-hand side of the train. The journey allows you to see the countryside and cities along the way to your chosen destination

 

Bento Boxes and More

Eating in Japan does not stop just because you are on the train. Grab a bento box at the train station or the local department store food hall!

Bento Box
You can select from any and all types of food to bring. This bento box gives 12 different tastes and bites with sushi rolls both raw and cooked. The purchase will include chopsticks, and when you seat in the green car the attendant gives you a wet towel
Bento Box
This bento box includes your choice of rice along with pickles and grilled mackerel. Rice is a prized treat in Japan – the prices can actually go crazy high for an elite quality of rice grains. Rice is the ultimate Asian comfort
Katsu Sando
For a light snack, consider Katsu Sandos, or katsu sandwiches. You can also purchase beer beforehand or even in the food and drink cart for a reasonable price. The cart includes hot and cold drinks and even ice cream

 


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