A ride on the Shinkansen


"Shin" means "new", and Shinkansen means "News Main Line", and it is the name for the fast express trains that started to operate around 1962 with 200 km/h. Nowadays, you can already observe four generations of trains, where the older ones serve shorter distances.


You can make a seat reservation until a short time before the train leaves. Sometimes you have to wait in a queue for a while, sometimes it is easier. There are always cars indicated for passengers without seat reservation, and sometimes we had the impression that these cars were not more crowded than the others.


In the bigger stations it is easy to find the correct platform. If you can't read the sign, just wait for ten seconds, and there will be more familiar letters on the sign.


Coloured stripes indicate on the floor where and how you should line up with your luggage. Check the number of the car that you want to enter. The door will be exactly at the markings when the train has stopped.


The seats are turned around at the endpoints of the lines, so that you always look in direction of travel.


A bento (box) is the japanese solution for the problem that you get hungry on longer train rides. Bentos are sold at the stations and in the trains at reasonable prices, as I think.


Some are available practically everywhere, for instance bentos with sushis and tempura, others are regional specialities and you get them while the train passes the certain region.


Don't forget to look out of the window, the trains move very fast and you might miss something - for instance the Shinkansen depot near Shin-Osaka. It is on the right side, if you travel from Kyoto to Shin-Osaka. Keep your camera ready, the total travel time between the two cities is only 17 min.