Japanese trains have long been the envy of commuters in other countries, with the Shinkansen
offering both speedy journey times and smart service between cities.
And indeed, passengers can only expect further improvements to be made, with the government approving construction of new 'maglev' bullet trains on Friday (October 17th) that will radically reduce the time needed to travel between metropolises.
The maglev services, which have so far been run only on test tracks, have attracted international attention for their use of superconducting magnets, which float the train ten centimetres above the track and allow for frictionless movement.
This new technology will allow trains on the planned Chuo Shinkansen
line to attain speeds of up to 300 miles per hour, which will link Tokyo
and reduce journey times down from 90 minutes to just 40.
Short demonstration lines have proven popular with the Japanese public and more than 150,000 individuals have applied for seats on one of the test runs set to take place in November, with only 1,200 pairs of seats available. The winners will be decided by lottery.
Central Japan Railway Co plans to complete the Chuo Shinkansen
line by 2027, with intentions to extend it to Osaka
by 2045. However, those hoping for a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji
might be disappointed to learn that the majority of the journey will take place inside a tunnel.
The project, costing 5.5 trillion yen (£32 billion), is to be funded entirely through cash generated by the current Shinkansen
lines, which offer fast and efficient intercity transport throughout Japan.
If you're hoping to board a bullet train
during your stay, it may be wiser to consider purchasing a JR Pass for your trip. These allow for unlimited public transport on certain lines during your stay, apart from the Nozomi and Mizuho express trains.