High speed bullet trains were born in Japan. It’s where they began and one of the countries that are most famous for these exciting machines! We decided to catch the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto while we were in Japan. It was such an easy and fun way to travel, avoiding airport baggage lines, long queues to board and disembark planes, and so spacious and comfortable!
Japan’s bullet trains are called Shinkansen (新幹線) and are operated by Japan Railways. They run at speeds of up to 320 km/h and are known for their punctuality, comfort, safety and efficiency. These trains run on time to the second and are a very cost effective way to travel around Japan. They are the best way to get to major cities all over the main islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Hokkaido.
Most shinkansen trains offer both reserved and non-reserved seats in separate cars. Whilst reserving a seat can sometimes cost almost as much as the train ticket itself it is definitely worth it! We were able to have a great four seater booth for our trip down to Kyoto, which gave us the luxury of spreading out and getting comfortable. And of course, we were guaranteed our seats, rather than having the anxiety of getting onto a train and not knowing where to go. In some cases people will get on and take reserved seats that they haven’t paid for, but if anyone is in your seat politely ask them to move and show them your ticket. Seat reservations cost different amounts at different times of the year so make sure you ask the price when purchasing.
Bullet trains will also have a small food cart moving through the carriages with a selection of snacks, drinks and boxed meals available to purchase. Some trains will have vending machines and pay phones. All bullet trains have toilets on board. There are luggage racks for suitcases and oversized luggage, as well as the regular overhead storage. Catching at shinkansen is definitely a great experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to travel around Japan.