Japon

The 3 Trains of the Tokaido Shinkansen

The most popular shinkansen in Japan 

tokaido shinkansen

The most popular shinkansen in Japan is the Tokaido Shinkansen. This bullet train, named for the road that took travelers in centuries past between the new and old capitals, goes from Tokyo to Osaka. There are three trains that travel on the Tokaido Shinkansen line: the Nozomi, the Hikari, and the Kodama. Some of these trains are faster than others, and some you cannot use with your Japan Rail Pass. Here is a brief overview to help you plan your travels.

the hikari shinkansen

The Hikari shinkansen with a Japan Rail Pass
If you travel from Tokyo to Kyoto with a Japan Rail Pass, you will probably ride a Hikari.

The Hikari Shinkansen is the second fastest bullet trian, taking about 3 hours from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka. Hikari Shinkansen run about every 30 minutes (please check timetables for details). It stops at all the major cities (Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka), and it makes just a few extra stops along the way. However, which stations it stops at varies by train, so be sure to check the schedules. 

the kodama shinkansen

The Kodama Shinkansen with a Japan Rail Pass
This train is the slowest of the three Tokaido shinkansen. It stops at every station on the line, including a few famous hot springs! The Kodama takes 4 hours to travel from the first station, Tokyo Station, to the last, Shin-Osaka Station. You can use this train with a Japan Rail Pass.

The nozomi shinkansen

The Nozomi Shinkansen is the fastest train, going from one end to the other in 2 hours and 40 minutes. It makes the least amount of stops, only stopping in Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Shin-Osaka. Unfortunately, you cannot use this train with a Japan Rail Pass. The good news is, there's not much of a difference between the Nozomi and the Hikari!

luggages along the tokaido line

Starting from May 2020, a seat reservation near the luggage area will be required in the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu lines if the sum of the dimensions of your luggage exceeds 160 cm.

stations along the tokaido line

itineraries 

Learn more about the Tokaido Shinkansen itineraries :
 - How to go from Tokyo to Nagoya ?
 - How to go from Nagoya to Kyoto ?

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