Travel Around Japan: Which Shinkansen (Bullet Train) Line to Take

As one of the most convenient means of transport throughout the country, it is quite easy for visitors to travel around Japan by the comfortable, fast Shinkansen bullet train; whether it is the northern cities of Hokkaido or the southern beaches of Kagoshima, just sit back in your flimsy seat and admire the scenery out the window, relax and let the Shinkansen network take you there. Here are some of the most popular lines on the extensive Shinkansen network, which could be a good idea to follow and start your Japan tour.

Shinkansen(Bullet Train)Shinkansen(Bullet Train)

The Tokaido Shinkansen line starts at Tokyo Station and ends at Shin-Osaka Station. There are three types of trains on this line, Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama, all of which pass through Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka, five of Japan's famous tourist destinations. If you plan to visit these 5 popular places, you can take the fastest Nozomi trains, which only stop at stations in these 5 cities, and take about 2.5 hours to arrive at Shin-Osaka Station. In addition to these well-known tourist destinations, the Tokaido Shinkansen also passes through Atami, boasting its sea and many hot springs, and it takes only about 45 minutes to reach Atami Station from Tokyo Station on Hikari trains or Kodama trains. Mount Fuji is certainly not to be missed, and it takes about one hour to reach Shin-Fuji station from Tokyo Station on Kodama trains. You can also get a stunning panoramic view of Mount Fuji from the trains.

Mount FujiMount Fuji

The Sanyo Shinkansen line starts at Shin-Osaka Station and ends at Hakata Station, passing through Kobe, Himeji, Okayama and Hiroshima. The entire journey takes about 2.5 hours. Kobe is about 15 minutes away from Shin-Osaka Station by the fastest Nozomi trains on the line, and is famous for its beef and sake (Japanese rice wine). After enjoying a gourmet meal at Kobe, you can continue to take the Nozomi trains at Shin-Kobe Station, which takes about 15 minutes to reach Himeji, where the World Heritage Site Himeji Castle is located. Then let Nozomi trains take you to the next famous spot, Okayama Korakuen Garden, one of the three most famous gardens in Japan, and it also only takes about 15 minutes from Himeji Station.

The Kyushu Shinkansen line connects Fukuoka, Kumamoto, and Kagoshima, making it convenient for passengers to travel between the northern, central and southern parts of Kyushu. The Kyushu Shinkansen line starts at Hakata Station and ends at Kagoshima-Chuo Station, and the whole journey takes about 1.5 hours. Kumamoto is located in the central part of Kyushu, where Kumamoto Castle (one of the three great castles in Japan) and Suizenji Jojuen Garden are most popular, and Kumamoto Station is only about 35 minutes away by Mizuho trains from Hakata Station. Kagoshima is located in the southern part of Kyushu, where the line ends. The beautiful view of Mount Shiroyama there will complete your trip. Kagoshima-Chuo Station is about 40 minutes away by Mizuho trains from Kumamoto Station.

In the western part of Kyushu, there is the Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen line, which connects Saga and Nagasaki, with magnificent views of the Saga Plain and the Ariake Sea along the way. This line starts at Takeo-Onsen Station and ends at Nagasaki Station, and the Kamome trains on this line take about 25 minutes to complete the whole journey.

The Hokuriku Shinkansen line starts at Tokyo Station and ends at Kanazawa Station, connecting Tokyo and Kanazawa. About 10 minutes from Tokyo Station, you reach Ueno, which is a worthy place to get off because there is a famous cherry blossom viewing spot, Ueno Park. As you approach Karuizawa Station (about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Tokyo Station), look out the train window for a spectacular view of the active volcano, Mt. Asama. When you reach the final station, Kanazawa Station (about 2.5 hours from Tokyo Station), don't miss Kenrokuen Garden, which is one of the three most famous gardens in Japan.

The Joetsu Shinkansen line starts at Tokyo Station and ends at Niigata Station, connecting Tokyo, Saitama, and Niigata, and the entire trip takes about 2 hours. Kumagaya Station is about 40 minutes from Tokyo Station, from there it is a 5-minute walk to the fairy-tale Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi (famous for amazing views of cherry and rapeseed blossoms). About 35 minutes from Kumagaya Station, you will reach Echigo Yuzawa, a resort well-known for its hot springs and snowy scenery.

The Tohoku Shinkansen line starts at Tokyo Station and ends at Shin-Aomori Station, connecting Tokyo, Miyagi and Aomori, and the entire trip takes about 3.5 hours. About 1 hour and 50 minutes from Tokyo Station, you reach Shiroshi-Zao Station, from where you can take a bus or taxi to Mount Zao, a complex cluster of stratovolcanoes, one of the most famous ski resorts in Japan, featuring numerous snow monsters (snow covered trees) in winter.

The Akita Shinkansen line starts at Morioka Station and ends at Akita Station, connecting Iwate and Akita. It takes about 35 minutes from Morioka Station to reach Tazawako Station, from where it takes about 15 minutes by bus to reach Lake Tazawa, the deepest lake in Japan, a stunning caldera lake. The Komachi trains on this line take about 1.5 hours to complete the whole journey.

The Yamagata Shinkansen line starts at Fukushima Station and ends at Shinjo Station, connecting Fukushima, Yamagata and Shinjo in 2 hours and 15 minutes. From Fukushima Station, it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to Yamagata Station, from where it is a 5-minute walk to the picturesque Yamadera Temple, built on a hill and about 1,000 years old, which is the most popular attraction in Yamagata.

The Hokkaido Shinkansen line starts at Shin-Aomori Station and ends at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station, connecting Aomori and Hokkaido, and the journey takes about one hour. Along the way, you will pass through beautiful scenery including Lake Toya (a volcanic caldera lake) and Biei Town (famous for its fascinating flower fields).

Have some clues about your Japan tour with the Shinkansen bullet train taking you around the charming city? Or a little bit confused about which line to take since there are so many lovely cities to see? Contact Odynovo with your requirements, we will not only provide more detailed guide of Shinkansen but also the service that will set you free from the planning.

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