- Bob Fisher
Travelling in Speed and Style
Blending slick, modern design and elegance, Japan’s bullet train, or shinkansen (literally: new main line), is one of Japan’s most iconic symbols. Since its launch in 1964—in time for the Tokyo Olympic Games—the bullet train has set the global standard for high-speed train travel.
Naturally, a shinkansen journey should be on the to-do list of any visitor to the country. Not only is it a highly convenient way to travel between major cities while taking in Japan’s stunning scenery, it’s a chance to experience Japan’s famed efficiency, punctuality and service.
No matter how many times you’ve ridden a bullet train, you can’t help but feel a sense of adventure from the moment you arrive at the dedicated platform and watch the sleek-nosed shinkansen silently glide into view.
But you better be quick with those Instagram-worthy snaps next to this piece of engineering ingenuity. Once the cleaning crew have completed its astonishingly quick, seven-minute sprucing of the carriages, the train will most certainly depart on time. In fact, the average delay for the Tokaido bullets trains, which run between Tokyo and Osaka and enjoy a mid-journey view of Mount Fuji (so long as the weather complies), is not much more than a jaw-dropping 30 seconds.
Just like its streamlined exterior, the shinkansen’s interior is more luxury airliner than train. Similarly, you get little idea of the speed you’re travelling at from inside one of the hushed, jolt-free carriages. The brand-new N700S series of bullet train has a top speed of 360 kilometres per hour but operates at a relatively leisurely 285 kilometres per hour—not that you’ll feel it.
The similarities to a passenger plane extend to the trolley service of snacks, drinks and bento lunchboxes of assorted delicacies (well worth trying) and the dulcet announcements as you prepare to “land” at a station.
With more than 2,760 kilometres of shinkansen tracks to explore, you can speed your way in style to Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido (home to some world-famous powder skiing) and as far south as Kyushu’s Kagoshima, whose own active volcano, Sakurajima, makes for a dramatic backdrop.
Since most places in Japan aren’t too far from a shinkansen station, Luxurique can ensure a bullet train journey is on the itinerary of any visit to Japan, whether you’re looking for a post-meeting getaway in a historical hub like Kanazawa or you’re heading to an exclusive, one-on-one culinary class with a Kyoto master chef.
Talk to our experienced travel and event coordinators today about making a shinkansen journey part of your next tailored trip to Japan.