Joetsu Shinkansen Train

A product of the East Japan Railway Company, the Joetsu Shinkansen is a type of Japanese high-speed train often referred to as a bullet train. The JR East-operated Joetsu was first introduced in 1982 and is used to link Tokyo, the nation’s capital, with Niigata, capital city of Niigata Prefecture.

There are currently two kinds of Joetsu Shinkansen trains serving the Tokyo to Niigata route: the E2 Series and E7 Series. Both models have a top operating speed of 240kms per hour. Most Joetsu trains feature two passenger seating classes: the “Ordinary Car” (basically a standard class coach) and the “Green Car” (similar to first or business class).

The Joetsu Shinkansen line covers a distance of approximately 270 kilometres between Tokyo and Niigata, making brief stops in such cities as Omiya-ku, Yuzawa and Nagaoka.

When you purchase a JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) e-ticket, you get unlimited travel by Joetsu Shinkansen between Tokyo and the central area of Honshu, Japan’s main island. This pass also includes travel in select regions of the Tohoku, Yamagata, and Hokuriku Shinkansen lines. Purchase a JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) to include travel via Akita Shinkansen in Japan’s northeastern region. Passes can be used for 5 consecutive travel days over a 14-day period.

Get your pass to exceptional value and flexibility as you plan your journey throughout the heart of Japan!

Why choose travel on Joetsu Shinkansen trains?
Types of Joetsu Shinkansen trains

E2 Series

  • First introduced: 1997
  • maximum operating speed: 240km/h
  • Layout: 10-car trains

E7 Series

  • First introduced: 2014
  • Maximum operating speed: 260km/h
  • Layout: 12 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 30 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 Akita Shinkansen trains in Japan
JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)

JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)

JR EAST PASS (Tohoku Area)

JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)

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.

Blog Posts


Visit Japan with new rail passes by region Choose between the JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) or the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area). Depending on the area of East Japan you want to travel in, you can now choose the pass that best suits your itinerary. Both passes are valid for 5 days of...
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