Bullet Train

The bullet train, or “Shinkansen”, is a type of passenger train which operates on Japan’s high-speed railway network. Capable of reaching a maximum speed of 320kms per hour, the bullet train offers riders an exceptionally unique and efficient travel experience. The list of Shinkansen train lines includes the Akita, Hokuriku, Joetsu, Kyushu, and Yamagata. While some routes are especially popular among travelers - Tokyo to Nagano, Tokyo to Kyoto, Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima - all feature frequent, timely departures throughout the week.

Just pick one of three rail passes to board the bullet train. The Japan Rail Pass, encompasses all areas of Japan; the JR East Pass, can be used to travel eastern Japan, where you’ll discover iconic cities like Nagano and Tokyo as well as Mount Fuji; the Kyushu Rail Pass, gives you the flexibility to explore Japan’s 3rd-largest island, Kyushu, in part or in its entirety. No matter which pass you choose, each represents excellent value and service when traveling by Japanese bullet train!

Why choose to travel on bullet trains?

  • High speed travel to the destinations of your choice, as well as frequent and punctual departures.
  • Rail passes that include travel on bullet trains will save you money and time travelling through Japan.

Suggested itineraries

From Tokyo to Kyoto
Estimated travel time: 2h49
Travel included with a: Japan Rail Pass.

From Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima
Estimated travel time: 1h40
Travel included with a: Japan Rail Pass.

From Tokyo to Shin-Osaka
Estimated travel time: 2h33
Travel included with a: Japan Rail Pass.

From Hiroshima to Hakata
Estimated travel time: 1h08
Travel included with a: Japan Rail Pass.

From Tokyo to Akita
Estimated travel time: 3h50
Travel included with a: JR East Pass.

From Hakata to Kagoshima
Estimated travel time: 1h17
Travel included with a: Kyushu Rail Pass.

Popular Bullet Trains

Services on bullet trains

  • Train announcements made in multiple languages
  • Catering services onboard including food carts with snacks, drinks and meals plus vending machines
  • Most trains are non-smoking

Luggage

Passengers are allowed two pieces of luggage, up to a maximum of 60kg and 250cm total in height, length and width. Delivery services are available.

Bicycles

Bicycles are permitted on bullet trains at no additional cost but must be folded or disassembled and packed.

Animals

Small pets including dogs, cats and birds are allowed onboard but must weigh less than 10kg and need to be carried in a container with a maximum total height and length of 90cm.

Accessibility

Passengers in wheelchairs have access to special seating on high speed trains but must make a request to the station they are boarding at, two days in advance. Wheelchairs must conform to maximum size requirements and those with steering wheels are generally not allowed. Elevators and escalators at stations are wheelchair-friendly. Strollers can be carried onboard at no charge, as long as they are folded and placed either in front of the seat or in the luggage compartment.

Rail passes for travel on bullet trains in Japan

Japan Rail Pass
JR East Pass
Kyushu Rail Pass

Some top attractions in Japan

Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, Nagano
Wildlife enthusiasts will love the opportunity to observe Japanese macaques in their natural habitat. See how the macaques, nicknamed “snow monkeys”, bathe in the hot springs and playfully interact.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima
Inaugurated in 1955, approximately 1 million annual visitors pay their respects to the exhibits displaying the effects of the atomic bomb dropped on central Hiroshima. The museum pays tribute to all of the lives lost and affected by the tragedy and seeks to convey the message of international peace and the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto
Thousands of orange and black torii gates lining paths to the woods of the sacred Mount Inari are a dedication to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. A site not to be missed, the entire walk and climb to the mountain summit takes approximately 2-3 hours.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Tokyo
A trip to Tokyo would not be complete without seeing the wondrous display of cherry blossoms adorning this national landmark. Visitors are offered a peaceful escape from the bustling city and can take long strolls around the vast green lawns.

Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, Osaka
Opened in 1990, the Osaka Aquarium is one of the largest public aquariums in the world. The habitats display marine life from the “Ring of Fire” volcanic belt of the Pacific Ocean and give visitors the impression of always being underwater.

Port Tower Selion, Akita
Visitors flock to this Japanese landmark because it shows off a 360-degree panorama and a startling view of the sunset. Standing at over 100m above the ground, the Port Tower Selion offers free admission to everyone.

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