Joetsu Shinkansen Train

Joetsu Shinkansen Train

The Joetsu Shinkansen is a line of Japanese high-speed trains, commonly-known as bullet trains, run by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East). In service since 1982, the line connects the capital city of Tokyo with Niigata, the capital of Niigata Prefecture.

The total distance covered by the Joetsu Shinkansen is approximately 270 km. City stops between Tokyo and Niigata include Omiya-ku, Takasaki, Yuzawa and Nagaoka.

There are two types of Joetsu Shinkansen trains currently in use on the Tokyo to Niigata route: the E2 Series and E4 Series. Two different seating classes are offered on most trains: “Ordinary” (essentially Standard Class) and “Green Car” (comparable to First or Business Class).

Travel on a Joetsu Shinkansen train by purchasing a JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) e-ticket. This pass provides unlimited travel between Tokyo and the central region of Japan’s main island, Honshu, and travel aboard sections of Tohoku, Yamagata, and Hokuriku Shinkansen trains. JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) also includes travel on the Joetsu Shinkansen, from Tokyo to Yuzawa. Passes are valid for 5 flexible travel days within a 14-day period.

The JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) represents great value and flexibility for your travels in the heart of Japan!

Why choose travel on Joetsu Shinkansen trains?

  • Joetsu Shinkansen trains are equipped with sophisticated noise suppression technologies.
  • An established record of reliable railway travel at speeds of up to 240 km/h.
  • Frequent and punctual daily departures.
  • Your JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) can save you money while offering travel flexibility not only on the Joetsu, but 3 other Shinkansen Super Express Line trains as well.

Types of Joetsu Shinkansen trains

  • E2 Series
    • first introduced: 1997
    • maximum operating speed: 240km/h
    • layout: 10-car trains
  • E4 Series
    • first introduced: 1997
    • maximum operating speed: 240km/h
    • layout: 8-car trains

Train services and amenities

  • Spacious, comfortable seats capable of swiveling 180 degrees
  • 3x2 row seat layout in Ordinary Class; 2x2 row seat layout in Green Car Class
  • Signs and announcements in multiple languages
  • Catering services onboard including food carts with snacks, drinks and meals plus vending machines
  • Multiple-toilet washroom facilities
  • Most trains are non-smoking

Route itinerary

From: Tokyo to Niigata
Train stations: Tokyo and Niigata
Popular stops: Omiya-ku, Takasaki, Yuzawa, Nagaoka
Estimated travel time: 2h00
Travel included with a: JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)


Passengers are allowed two pieces of luggage, up to a maximum weight of 60 kg and having total dimensions measuring no more than 250 cm (based on height, length and width). Delivery services are available.


Bicycles are permitted at no extra cost but must be folded or disassembled and packed inside carrying cases.


Small pets including dogs, cats and birds are allowed onboard. However, they must travel in a cage or similar container no bigger than 90 cm (based on height and length) and must weigh less than 10 kg.


Passengers in wheelchairs have access to special seating on the train but must make a request at the station they are boarding from 2 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 extra charge, as long as they are folded and placed either in front of the seat or in the designated luggage compartment.

Rail passes for travel on Joetsu Shinkansen trains in Japan

JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)
JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)

Some top attractions along the Joetsu Shinkansen train route

Tokyo Sea Life Park (Tokyo)
Housing one of Japan’s largest penguin exhibits, this “glass dome” aquarium features over 600 different species of seaside animals and marine mammals from all over globe. Experience for yourself the delicate exchange between man and the sea!

Hakusan Shrine (Niigata)
The Hakusan is among the 10 most important shrines in Tokyo. Believed to have been built during the 8th century as a temple of prayer for curing smallpox, it was transformed into a tutelary shrine for the Konjiki-in Temple by the 11th century. The decorative, wooden shrine is also the site of Niigata’s annual Hakusan Shrine Summer Festival.

Omiya Park (Omiya-ku)
Opened in 1885, this vast 67.9-hectare park is noted for its Japanese Red Pine forest and lush cherry blossoms. Whether you visit the on-site zoo, Japanese garden, sports stadium or cycling velodrome, Omiya Park marks the perfect spot for you and your family when in need of a little rest and relaxation.

Museum of Modern Art (Takasaki)
Designed by master architect Arata Isozaki, this Takasaki museum opened its doors to the public in 1974. Inside this unique building, you will find a number of famed art collections, including works by Renoir, Monet and renowned Japanese painter Soga Jasoku.

Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort (Yuzawa)
A favorite among ski enthusiasts visiting Japan, the Gala Yuzawa is suited to beginners as well as veterans to the sport. Enjoy the picturesque, snowy landscape as glide your way down hill. Later, relax in the warmth of the on-site spa resort!

Niigata Prefectural Museum of History (Nagaoka)
As the name might imply, the purpose of the Niigata Prefectural Museum is to teach visitors about the anthropology, mythology and history of Niigata Prefecture: roughly 30,000 years’ worth of history! An array of beautiful exhibits depicting the origins of both city and prefecture are presently on display.

Information on the use of cookies

We use functional and performance cookies to optimize your user experience. However, we allow you to accept or refuse cookies. To learn more, please look at our private policy here.