Limited Express Trains in Japan

Aboard Japan's Limited Express: a smooth and scenic ride.
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High-Speed Japan Railways: Limited Express Trains

Limited express trains are the second-fastest railway connection you can choose in Japan (after Shinkansen, of course). Just as their famous siblings, they boast an impressive top speed and offer great onboard amenities. So, if everything is so good and well, what is the difference between Shinkansen and the limited express trains?

All categories of Japanese trains differ by the number of train stations they serve. While the Shinkansen trains stop only at the biggest, most popular stations, the limited express' range is a bit bigger, as they cover several smaller stations on the same route. On the one hand, this type of trains offers a broader list of destinations which is great, but, on the other hand, more stops mean slower travel times.
Although limited express trains are classified as high-speed, they can't dream to boast Japanese bullet trains operating speed. While Shinkansen run on a separate high-speed railway line, limited express trains don't have that luxury. They use old commuter lines that don't allow to reach the head-spinning speed of Shinkansen trains.

There are two types of limited express trains currently in service, intercity and commuter. Intercity trains are much better equipped and meant for long-distance travel, while commuter trains work great if you need to travel within the city or around the nearby area, but can't offer much comfort if you plan traveling between the distant cities, similar to the Japanese short-distance trains.

Limited Express Trains Onboard Amenities

As we've mentioned above, the onboard amenities depend on what type of train you are going to travel by.

​A commuter train's undeniable advantage is a relatively cheap ticket price, but you also won't get much out of this trip apart from a simple relocation from point A to point B. They offer typical commuter train coaches and don't give you the option of reserving a seat (during the rush hour, it's always a bit of a local "hunger games" in any given train car). Intercity trains are a different story. They offer a much nicer experience, great amenities, and two travel classes.

Q&A: Limited Express Trains in Japan

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