Japan’s high speed Shinkansen trains, popularly known as “bullet trains” ever since their initial design stages, can reach speeds of 200 MPH!
But it is not just their speed that impresses. Despite traveling routes that cover vast swaths of the country, the trains stay on schedule to the minute. Punctuality is so essential to the Shinkansen system (and Japanese culture in general) that if a train is even the slightest bit late, the conductors will apologize profusely to riders.
And despite their high speeds, the ride is incredibly smooth and quiet. Without looking out the window, you wouldn’t realize that you are hurtling through the passing landscape.
You will also certainly notice the trains’ cleanliness, including the bathrooms! Even the older trains are spotless due to their frequent and meticulous rapid-cleaning process.
Owned and operated by Japan’s national “Japan Rail” system, the first Shinkansen line was built in 1964, just in time for Tokyo’s first Olympics. Since then, the system has expanded to seven lines that cover all the major urban centers of Japan. From the Shinkansen stations, non-Shinkansen JR trains will often connect you to local destinations to allow you to further pinpoint your arrival.
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