Shinkansen Travel Classes

Choose your Shinkansen experience: a guide to travel classes
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Shinkansen: Ordinary Car

The first thing you need to know is that Shinkansen trains offer amazing onboard amenities, regardless of the travel class you choose for the journey. Ordinary car (aka second class in international classification) on the famous bullet trains is the simplest option, but it doesn't mean that it provides anything but excellent travel conditions.

Ordinary cars offer 5 comfortable seats per row (2+3 arrangements), with generous luggage space and spacious legroom to take advantage of. The elbowroom might be a bit tight, but it's a minor drawback, and all in all, Shinkansen's second class is a great value for money. Tickets for ordinary cars come with both reserved and unreserved seats, but an option with a seat allocated in advance costs a bit extra.

Shinkansen: Green Car

The travelers who seek even more comfort from Japanese trains might feel better traveling by Shinkansen's Green Car. No, this class got its peculiar name not because it's somehow better for the planet than the ordinary car (although trains are a greener way to travel than cars and planes). Originally, the first-class cars on Shinkansen were marked either by a green line on the side of the carriage or by the green headrests - weirdly no one knows for sure now.

The seats of this class are always reserved and arranged 2x2. They are a bit more spacious than the ones in the ordinary car, offer more elbow room, and better headrests to provide as much comfort during the journey as possible. Some trains feature such niceties as electric reclining and in-seat reading lights. The first-class cars also tend to be less crowded, so it's the best choice for those who appreciate some peace and quiet during the journey.

Shinkansen: Gran Class

Well, if you would like to feel like a royalty during the journey, gran class on Shinkansen trains might be exactly what you need. You won't find it on just any Japanese bullet train, but recently the number of Shinkansen trains offering this option grew quite significantly due to the high demand.

Traveling by gran class is a very intimate experience, as each car offers only 18 seats, arranged according to the "2+1 scheme". All passengers can count on personal attention from a ride a attendant and can rest assured that all their needs will be met.

Travelers are offered a welcome kit, consisting of a warm blanket, comfy sleeping mask, fluffy sleepers, and a warmed towel. A wide choice of delicious foods and drinks (alcoholic and not) is also included in a tickets price.

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