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Shinkansen-the Japanese bullet train – tips for survival 2019

Shinkansen-the Japanese bullet train.  The green JR line. Stands for Japan Railways. The Nazomi Shinkansen is the fastest with the fewest stops. They can travel up to 150 -200 miles an hour.

Last seat in every car has room for big luggage.
  • Do not buy reserved seats buy non reserved.  Usually first 3 cars or last three cars or more are non reserved. No difference and if you have reserved seats you have to find your exact car.  Non reserved offers you more options. Trains can be 16 cars or 8 cars depending on need and stop at the exact platform markings. Yet once we got in que for a 16 car train and it turned out to be an 8 car and the train had stopped early. We had to run to get to a car but had several to pick from.
  • Try and get the last seat in each car if you have big luggage. There is a big space behind the last seats.
  • Buy food at train stations.  I know the idea of eating food from a train station sounds terrible in US, but food is remarkably good and quite fresh.  We bought good sandwiches and bento boxes that were delicious. Only the super fast trains like Nazomi have food carts.
  • English is displayed on train monitors but remember they always add shin to the front.  Example is Osaka station is Shin-Osaka.
  • Trains only stop for three minutes.  So be prepared.  Quick -quick but in a que! Stand on the left and let passengers off and then enter the train. Be there early and get in que and get on and out of the way as soon as possible. They will not wait on you. Trains are never more than 36 seconds off schedule.
  • Bathrooms are available on bullet trains.
  • Hooks available next to seat for jackets and bags. Small bags can fit in upper shelves but not a 21 inch.
  • All seats face forward.  When the train turns around there is a little foot peddle that turns the seat the opposite way.  Sometimes families of 4 will turn one set of seats so they can face each other. If you do this you can create a small space for big luggage between the seat that you turned around and the one behind it.
  • Out of respect you should carry trash with you and place your seat in upright position for next customer.
  • Very clean and every once in a while a conductor will stamp your ticket.
  • Keep your ticket as you need it to exit train station.  Once you exit train station at your destination and put your ticket through the turn stile it will keep your ticket. If you don’t have your ticket you cannot exit. Always keep your ticket handy.
  • Smoking is only allowed in one car.
  • No seat-belts. I found that odd, yet they have not had one accident in 50 years.
  • The subway systems have special lanes for women. So if you are a man stay out of the pink zone.
This guy did not read the sign on the ground .