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Tokaido Shinkansen

Tokaido Shinkansen is the first high-speed rail line in Japan (opened in 1964), as well as the the world's first high-speed rail system. Operated by JR Central, it connects the country's major cities of Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka, also the three metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, making it one of the most important rail arteries and one of the most heavily traveled lines in Japan.

Basic Information

  • Japanese: 東海道新幹線/とうかいどう しんかんせん
  • Length: 515.4 kilometers (319.5 miles)
  • Duration: around 2.5 hours
  • Top speed: 285 kph (177 mph)
  • Terminals: Tokyo Train Station, Shin-Osaka Train Station
  • Stops along the way: Shin-Yokohama, Odawara, Atami, Mishima, Shin-Fuji, Shizuoka, Kakegawa, Hamamatsu, Toyohashi, Mikawa-Anjo, Nagoya, Gifu-Hashima, Maibara, Kyoto

tokaido shinkansen japan bullet train

Tokaido Shinkansen Timetable and Ticket Prices

Journey Distance Duration Ticket Prices
From – To Kilometer/Mile Nozomi Hikari Kodama Green Car Reserved Seat Unreserved Seat
Tokyo – Shin-Yokohama 28.8 km (17.9 mi) 18 min 18 min 18 min 3,780 yen 3,210 yen 1,380 yen
Tokyo – Shizuoka 180.2 km (111.7 mi) -- 60 min 87 min 8,740 yen 6,670 yen 5,940 yen
Tokyo – Hamamatsu 257.1 km (159.4 mi) -- 87 min 114 min 12,100 yen 8,640 yen 7,910 yen
Tokyo – Nagoya 366 km (226.9 mi) 99 min 104 min -- 14,960 yen 11,500 yen 10,560 yen
Tokyo – Kyoto 513.6 km (318.4 mi) 132-138 min -- -- 19,040 yen 14,370 yen 13,320 yen
Tokyo – Shin-Osaka 552.6 km (342.6 mi) 150-153 min -- -- 19,590 yen 14,920 yen 13,870 yen

Trains Running on Tokaido Shinkansen

There are three types of trains in service on Tokaido Shinkansen, with different running speeds and the number of intermediate stations. They are Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama.

  • Nozomi train: this is the fastest train running on Tokaido Shinkansen, with limited stops only at major stations along the way including Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya and Kyoto. Most Nozami trains run from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka and further into Tohoku Shinkansen. Most services on Tokaido Shinkansen are Nozomi trains, with a maximun of 8 pairs of trains per hour. Japan Rail Pass cannot be used to take Nozomi trains.
  • Hikari train: this is the second fastest rail service on Tokaido Shinkansen. They have more intermidiate stops than Nozami. Hikari runs two shifts per hour. Passengers holding Japan Rail Pass can take Hikari trains.
  • Kodama train: this is the slowest high-speed service on Tokaido Shinkansen. Kodama trains run two shifts per hour. They stop at every stations along the Tokyo - Shin-Oasaka route. Japan Rail Pass can be used to take Kodama trains.

tokaido shinkansen japan bullet train

Is Tokaido Shinkansen Included in JR Pass?

The Japan Rail Pass covers all shinkansen trains, except Nozomi trains and Mizuho trains. To take these trains, JR Pass holders would need to pay full fare. Nozomi trains are the fastest trains on Tokaido Shinkansen, which is not covered by JR Pass. But you can use JR Pass to ride Hikari trains, the second fastest trains on Tokaido Shinkansen, and Kodama trains.

History of Tokaido Shinkansen

  • April, 1959: Construction of Tokaido Shinkansen began.
  • October 1, 1964: Tokaido Shinkansen started operating, with the top running speed of 200 kph (124 mph). It takes 4 hours from Tokyo to Shin-Oasaka.
  • November, 1965: The top running speed increased to 210 kph (130 mph). The travel time from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka reduced to 3 hours 10 minutes.
  • March, 1972: Tokaido Shinkansen was connected to the newly opened Tohoku Shinkansen.
  • November, 1986: Top speed increased to 220 kph (136 mph).
  • April, 1987: Japanese National Railways was privatised. Tokaido Shinkansen was owned and operated by JR Central.
  • March, 1992: Nozami trains started operating, with the top running speed of 270 kph (167 mph).
  • July, 2007: N700 series train was put into service. The travel time between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka was shortened to 2 hours 25 minutes.
  • March, 2015: the Top speed increased to 285 kph (177 mph). The travel time between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka reduced to 2 hours 22 minutes.

The Future of Tokaido Shinkansen

A new station in Samukawa was underconstruction on Tokaido Shinkansen.

The N700 series' latest improved model, the Shinkansen N700S is now available. And it will be put into service in 2020.

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