Explore Japan in style and speed on the Shinkansen bullet train, a symbol of innovation and convenience, making every destination more accessible and memorable.

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The History of Shinkansen Railway

When one hears the word Shinkansen (and has at least a general idea about the Japanese rail system), the first thing that comes to mind is an image of a modern bullet train, looking sharp, impetuous, and very-very white. But did you know that Shinkansen refers not only to bullet trains in Japan but also to the railway lines, serviced by the renowned high-speed trains?

Japan was the first country in the world to build train lines meant exclusively for high-speed travel. Today, when bullet trains are an integral part of life, the idea that they were introduced only 50 years ago seems surreal. It's even harder to believe that introduction of the idea of Shinkansen was met with distrust and even hostility from the public. A lot of respected public figures argued against the concept and didn't miss a chance to voice their opinions.
Which is understandable. It's always scary to go first! But as we know, those who don't take risks also don't drink champagne. And luckily for everyone, launching the Shinkansen was a fantastic reason to raise a glass to success. Shinkansen railway was a pride of Japanese railways and a matter of envy for every other country in the world. Of course, European countries didn't like to stay behind, and in 1981 France launched high-speed TGV trains, Germany's Intercity Express followed ten years after.

What started with the Tokaido Shinkansen line (one of the busiest train lines in the world!) over the years grew to be a widespread network going throughout the whole beautiful country and boasting annual ridership of more than 353 million people!
The third-sector Japan train companies manage the smallest share of passenger traffic. This group includes all organizations that were funded jointly by the regional governments and private train companies.

Shinkansen: Japanese Bullet Trains

Traveling by a bullet train, Japan's famous iron horse is a guarantee of getting to your destination fast while enjoying unparalleled comfort. It's a connection favored by people who value their time, as there is no faster way to get around Japan. Traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto by train, for example, takes only 2 hours, while a train not meant for high-speed travel can cover this distance in 3 hours. Japanese Shinkansen trains boast an astonishing speed of 300 km/h (83.3 mph), but that's not the only secret behind their astonishing travel times.
Japanese Shinkansen trains also serve the smallest number of stations among all Japan's trains! Japan's bullet trains don't stop at every railway station they pass, only at the major ones, making them an unsuitable connection if you need to travel to remote destinations, but indispensable for intercity travel.

Although the classic image of the fastest bullet train in Japan is of a shining white vehicle with a head distantly resembling a bird of prey or at least one of an airplane, Shinkansen trains come in all shapes in sizes, including adorable Hello Kitty design. The interiors also differ from train to train.

There are quite a few trains servicing Japan Shinkansen railways (Nozomi, Hikari, Mizuho, Kodama, Hayabusa, and Sakura), but all of them offer a consistently high level of comfort during the journey and several travel classes to choose from.

Q&A: Shinkansen in Japan

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