Riding the Shinkansen in Japan

by Mieke - TripleLights travel specialist

Riding the Shinkansen in Japan

Riding the Shinkansen in Japan

photo courtesy of thewallpapers.org

 

The Shinkansen, or Bullet Train
If there's one train that you should experience while in Japan, it's got to be the Shinkansen. As the fastest train in Japan and one of the fastest in the world, it takes you to your destination in just a flash. Especially for distances around 400/500 kilometres (about the distance between Tokyo and Osaka, for instance), the Shinkansen can be faster and more comfortable than an air plane because you don't have to be there ahead of time and wait for long. Also, you get to see a lot more of the country from the window. Make sure you book a window seat.

 

Here's a video showig the Shinkansen Bullet train from the Japan Fan Youtube Channel:

How to book the Shinkansen

You have to make a reservation if you want to ride the Shinkansen, either on the spot, or in advance. Booking in advance is advisable when you want to travel during Japanese holidays, because all of Japan wants to travel at those dates, so the train is super full. Outside Japanese holidays seat reservations are not mandatory, except for the Hayabusa, Komachi and Hayate trains on the Tohoku line.

Many tourists ride the Shinkansen with a JR pass. Here's everything you need to know about the JR Pass.

Riding the Shinkansen in Japan

photo courtesy of ibtimes.co.uk

 

Booking

You can book either at a ticket desk, at a machine, or online.


Ticket Desk Reservations

You can make seat reservations personally at ticket offices of all major JR stations across Japan. Any shinkansen train can be reserved from any JR ticket office in Japan. There are special Shinkansen desks at some larger stations, but you can also visit the 'Byuu' (びゅう) counters for reservations when you have a Japan Rail Pass.

Machine Reservations

If there are long lines at the counter, machines provide a faster way to book. A few types of ticket machines have English menus as well. Unfortunately, Japan Rail Pass holders cannot use the vending machines for their seat reservations.

 

Online Reservations

If you travel in the east of Japan, you can make use of the website of JR East. They operate an English website that allows regular travelers and Japan Rail Pass and JR East Pass holders to make seat reservations for the Tohoku, Yamagata, Akita, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen lines, but not for any other shinkansen lines. The other JR companies of Japan also operate websites, but unfortunately only for Japanese residents for now.

 

 

Need help planning your trip to Japan ?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Japan, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Japan


05 Nov 2014

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews

“ First time visit to Tokyo ”

Excellent
5 hours ago Traveler: Judy -   Tour Guide: Hiroshi

Hiro is an excellent tour guide and we had a fabulous day taking in the history and culture of Japan. Hiro was very informative and he has a great sense of humour. His English is excellent. Hiro collected us from our hotel and navigated the complex subway system easily. We visited the Edo Museum, Imperial Palace East Garden and the Meiji Shrine. After a great day Hiro accompanied us back to the tr...
read more

“ One way to Haneda Airport ”

Excellent
14 hours ago Traveler: Kate -   Tour Guide: Oeuvre Limousine Services

Very responsibe, reliable and affordable transportation. Highly recommended.
read more

“ Perfect layover in Tokyo! ”

Excellent
15 hours ago Traveler: Diane -   Tour Guide: Toshi(T-chan)

We had a 12 hour layover in Japan (HND) and didn't want to spend it sitting in the airport, so we researched available tours and found Triplelight to have excellent reviews. We picked T-chan as a potential guide based on excellent reviews and a humorous video she had posted to her profile. We were right! T-chan arranged a perfect tour for us. We were able to get out of the city and see some of...
read more

“ Tokyo Tour - Family of 4 from Brunei ”

Excellent
17 hours ago Traveler: Winnie -   Tour Guide: Yuki

We appreciate the tour and services provided by Yuki. Yuki is absolutely a well organized and excellent tour guide. The experience we had was amazing and wonderful. Thank you so much for helping us out with the arrangements from Tokyo to Kyoto. Should we ever return to Tokyo we will definitely plan our next tour with Yuki again .
read more

“ Nara and Kyoto ”

Excellent
22 hours ago Traveler: Gwen -   Tour Guide: Masahisa

Super patient man who caters to our large group with old and young. Considerate and thoughtful. Highly rated
read more

“ First Family Trip to Japan ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Lalaine -   Tour Guide: Oeuvre Limousine Services

Thank you for making our arrival to Japan and transport to our hotel a safe and stress free experience. The convenience of our private airport pick up was so helpful in making our trip enjoyable. This was our first time going out of the country with our 3 yr old and we really loved the exta perk of private transportation after 16 hrs of travel. Thank you again. 5 out of 5 stars!!!!
read more

“ Excellent experience ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Sonali -   Tour Guide: Toshiyo

Toshiyo was a very very good guide for our family of 4. She was thoughtful, patient and fantastic. She made our Kyoto day!
read more

“ Amazing hike through Aokigahara ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Ross -   Tour Guide: Chinami

Chinami was a friendly and very knowledgeable guide. She knows alot about the history of the place and carefully explained it to us. She even provides us with nicely drawn illustrations to make it easier for us to understand. We had an extremely enjoyable time hiking through the forest. We would be happy to re-engage her as our guide if we visit Japan again in the future! Thank you Chinami for...
read more

“ Haneda airport to Tokyo hotel transfer ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Debu -   Tour Guide: Oeuvre Limousine Services

Excellent communication and very quick responses. We were met by a very pleasant driver with limited English but very helpful and got us to our hotel in a fast and safe way. would gladly use again. Good job!
read more

“ One day Hakone tour ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Mai -   Tour Guide: Tomoko

We went to Hakone as winter camp and requested Tomoko-san to be our 1 day tour guide. She is very professional, fluent in English, know the place and history very well. We had 6 people in our group and she took care of all of us. She customized the trip schedule accordingly to our interests, and our pace. And it started snowing unexpectedly which means super cold, she even offered us hot tea a...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started