Introduction to Shinkansen Trains

Shinkansen and Mt. Fuji
sot/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Shinkansen are Japanese super express trains which link many cities efficiently. To take a Shinkansen train, a reserved or unreserved limited express fare ticket is necessary, in addition to a basic fare ticket.

Go to the Shinkansen gate at a JR shinkansen station and insert your tickets in the slot of the automatic gate and go through the gate. Make sure to retrieve the tickets from the machine. When you get to the platform, go to under the number board of the car indicated on your ticket, if you reserved a seat. If you didn't reserve a seat in advance, go under the number board of unreserved seat (jiyu-seki) cars. If people are lining up, line up behind the last person.

When the Shinkansen arrives, wait until people get off and the train cars are cleaned up. When the doors open, get inside and find your seat if you reserved one. Seat numbers are indicated below the luggage rack. If you didn't reserve a seat, find a seat in an unreserved seat car.

Shinkansen Lines

  • Tohoku Shinkansen
    (between Tokyo Station and Shin-Aomori Station)
    - Hayabusa, Hayate, Yamabiko, Nasuno, Max-Yamabiko, Max-Nasuno trains
  • Akita Shinkansen
    (between Tokyo Station and Akita Station)
    - Komachi trains
  • Yamagata Shinkansen
    (between Tokyo and Shinjo Station)
    - Tsubasa trains
  • Joetsu Shinkansen
    (between Tokyo Station and Niigata Station)
    - Toki, Tanigawa, Max-Toki, Max-Tanigawa trains
  • Nagano Shinkansen
    (between Tokyo and Nagano Station)
    - Asama trains
  • Tokaido Shinkansen
    (between Tokyo Station and Shin-Osaka Station)
    - Nozomi, Hikari, Kodama trains
  • Sanyo Shinkansen
    (between Shin-Osaka Station and Hakata Station)
    - Nozomi, Mizuho, Hikari, Sakura, Kodama trains
  • Kyushu Shinkansen
    (between Hakata Station and Kagoshima-chuo Station)
    - Mizuho, Sakura, Tsubame trains​

For more detailed information, please refer to JR-East Website, JR-West Website, and JR-Kyushu Website.

While you are traveling by Shinkansen train, eating bento (boxed meals) called ekiben on the train is fun. You can buy ekiben at train stations or inside shinkansen trains. In different regions, many special ekiben are available.

Was this page helpful?