Amazingly fast, comfortable, punctual and spacious and free Wi-Fiare some of the features of Japan’s iconic bullet trains. The revolutionary Japanese bullet train, also known as Shinkansen, began its operation in 1964. Over the past fifty years, the bullet train network has increased further extended to nine separate lines covering more than a million rides every day. In Japanese, the word Shinkansen means ‘new main lines’. Bullet trains in Japan are known to be the fastest mode of transportation that covers great distances in minimal time, connecting the major cities in a matter of minutes. When you step inside a bullet train in Japan, it almost feels like you are on an Aeroplane. The legroom is way more spacious than any luxurious travel, and the quiet operation of the train feels like you are floating just above the ground. There are so many places to visit in Japan, popularly known as a land of the rising sun, like the iconic Mount Fuji, Kawaguchi, Tokyo, the oldest city of Fukuoka, and so much more. A visit to Japan is incomplete without taking a trip in what Japan is known worldwide for, the bullet trains. Although travelling in Shinkansen can seem a little confusing, here is everything you need to know about Japan’s best form of travel.
Convenient and Safe Mode of Transportation
Although there are regular trains and bullet trains in Japan, their convenience and efficiency make bullet trains different from regular trains. All the Shinkansen stations situated across Japan are centrally located, covering all the country's major regions. This means that it is easy to board the Shinkansen from any destination and exit the station to head directly to your preferred destination without any other form of transportation. The signages and announcements are made in both English and Japanese, so the passengers don’t have to worry about missing out on any information. You can enjoy the incredible views of Mt. Fuji from your window once you board the train or other beautiful coastlines of Japan. After over fifty years of operation, Japan’s bullet trains are one of the safest modes of transportation as there have been no fatalities reported to date. Also, what makes Shinkansen one of the safest and most reliable modes of transportation is the reason that it is operational only during the daytime. At night, the trains and rail tracks undergo a stringent quality check for an uninterrupted service the next day.
Punctuality of Bullet Trains
The Shinkansens are almost never late and have been world-renowned for their punctuality. Two of the prime reasons why the Shinkansens always run on time is because of their skilled train drivers, conductors and cleaning staff. The conductor of the bullet train mentally calculates the speed of the train to get to the next station precisely, and with the use of a pocket watch, it is easier for them to calculate the time taken to reach the next station. Another reason for Japan’s bullet trains’ punctuality is their cleaning staff. When the train reaches a destination and departs for its next destination, there are less than ten minutes for the cleaning staff to board the train and make the passenger cars spotless. Within such a short period of time, the cleaning staff wipes the windows and tables, change the seat covers and make the carriage clean with an incredibly fast speed.
Japan’s Bullet Trains’ Top Speed and Ticket Price
The bullet trains of Japan run at a speed of 320 km/h and are relatively silent cars that are spacious even for your luggage with forward-facing seats. You can board a Shinkansen to explore Japan efficiently that covers all the important cities in Japan like Tokyo, Niigata, Osaka, Kyoto, Kagoshima, Hiroshima and Hakata. Japan has truly mastered the art of transportation, and hence the result is lightweight Shinkansen trains that do not put much pressure on the tracks compared to regular trains. Looking at the services that the bullet trains offer along with such an efficient rail network, travelling in Shinkansen is slightly on the expensive side. You pay a base fare for your journey depending on the time and distance and the type of reservation you choose in the Shinkansen. If you’ve got a Japan Rail pass, travelling on a bullet train without worrying about buying a ticket in Japan is a plus. You can just walk onto a platform, and the staff stationed at the bullet train gates will be happy to assist you in case of any confusion.
Unknown Facts About the Shinkansen
The earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011 devastated the whole rail network in the country. The Shinkansen has built-in earthquake safety features with seismometers installed at 97 locations across Japan. Whenever the trains detect an earthquake, the seismometers determine the earthquake's expected effect and send a warning message to cut the power supply of the trains. The Shinkansen runs on an independent power source, which gives alerts in an emergency and moves the train slowly and steadily to a safer tunnel. Another unknown fact about Shinkansen is that it is the most eco-friendly way to travel in Japan. The Shinkansen produce about 92% fewer carbon emissions than any other mode of transport and saves upto 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year in Japan.
Last Minute Advice to Travel in Shinkansens
- You must purchase a JR pass to travel hassle-free in Japan.
- There are bento box meal options available in the bullet trains along with tea, coffee and other refreshment options. However, you can always carry a meal before boarding the train due to limited supply.
- Avoid talking aloud or refrain from using your gadgets on loudspeakers while travelling in Japanese bullet trains.
- The air-conditioning system inside the Shinkansen can be a little cold. You can carry a warm layer to cover yourself up before boarding the train.
- The bullet trains in Japan do not run 24*7. They run only during the daytime to ensure uninterrupted services.
- The signages at stations are written both in English and Japanese language for various tourists frequenting Japan from all over the world. The announcements inside the carriage are also made in English and Japanese so that you do not miss out on important information.
Explore Japan Like A Local Would.
If you are planning an international trip to somewhere which is modern yet traditional in all manners, consider booking your Japan tour package and make the most of your trip by travelling in incredibly fast Japan bullet trains that are renowned the world over. You can explore some of the priced gems of Japan and travel in one of the most extensive rail systems in the world, the bullet trains. Explore the various Japan tour packages that Veena World has to offer, which you can even customise according to your budget and travel plans.