The Shinkansen bullet train

Travelling in comfort at speeds of up to 320 km/h; train travel doesn't get better than this!

Since it first opened in 1964, the Shinkansen has become just as synonymous with Japan as Mount Fuji, sumo and sushi. With currently 2,400 kilometres of track, the bullet train line acts as the back bone of the country linking the northern tip of the main island, Honshu, to the southern reaches of Kyushu Island.    
 
On the platform you will join an orderly queue at marker points and wait for the sleek nose of the train to glide into the station, stopping within centimetres of the markers. Even standard class seats are spacious, comfortable and have plenty of room. Before you know it, you will be shooting across the country at speeds between 240 and 320 km/h but the ride is so smooth and noise levels are so low that the only clue to how fast you are travelling is the scenery darting past the windows. 
 
The Shinkansen is a great place to people watch: smartly dressed business men; ladies going for a shopping trip to the big cities; pensioners enjoying retirement and travelling the country; school sports teams on their way to tournaments and families with excited kids travelling on the bullet train for the first time. The conductors politely bow as they enter and exit each carriage and a refreshment trolley passes through with beautifully presented bento lunch boxes as well as chilled cans of Japanese beer.

The Shinkansen bullet train

Available throughout Japan

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