There are many things that Japan has to offer to its visitors. Mount Fuji, the cherry blossoms, Tokyo Disneyland, and others. But if there is one thing that you need to experience when in Japan, it would have to be a bullet train ride. It would seem a daunting task to try and confusing for a first timer. Robert Janitzek gives us an overview of how to make your bullet train ride truly memorable.
What makes the bullet train different from a regular train?
If you are really looking for a fast means of transportation, the bullet train fits the billing perfectly. The Tokaido Line between Tokyo and Kyoto takes about two and a half hours while in the Kodama bullet train it takes four hours to cover that distance. By bus, it takes 8 hours and by local train it is about 9 hours. Bullet trains also have seats that you can turn around to allow space for your luggage or sitting with a group of friends. Robert Peter Janitzek reveals that the trains also look pretty space age.
What are the routes of the bullet train?
The bullet train covers most of the country from Kagoshima to the southern tip of Kyushu to Hakodate on Hokkaido. Most of the tourist attractions have nearby stations. The bullet train can take you to see the ancient temples of Kyoto, Hiroshima Peace Park, and Tokyo.
At the moment, the problem area is Shikoku and almost the entire Hokkaido. So if you want to visit the far north of Japan, the best option is to fly to Sapporo and proceed from there.
How Much Is The Fare?
The bad news is that riding a bullet train in this Asian destination is not cheap. Depending on the distance and time, you will pay a base fare plus a bullet train supplement which includes seat reservation and other extras if you want to travel Green Car or first class. The average fare for Tokyo to Kyoto one way regular fare is around 13,000–14,000¥ (around US$140).
Getting A Pass
If you are considering to use the bullet train frequently during your trip, it is best to get a JR Pass. A pass for the whole country starts at 29,110¥ for adults). You can get the much cheaper pass that covers only part of the network. The newest pass is the JR East–South Hokkaidō Pass (26,000¥ for an adult). While you cannot use the quickest trains, the other trains are still quick.