Understanding the Different Types of Shinkansen

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The different types of Shinkansen trains in Japan are distinguished by their speed, number of stops, and routes. Here is an overview of the most common types:

 

Nozomi: The fastest and most direct Shinkansen service on the Tokaido and Sanyo lines, connecting Tokyo and Shin-Osaka with fewer stops for swift travel between major cities.
While you can use a JR Pass to board this Shinkansen, there is an additional charge you have to pay for it.

 

Hikari: Operating on the Tokaido and Sanyo lines, Hikari trains offer a slightly slower but efficient service, making more stops than Nozomi while connecting Tokyo, Osaka, and Hiroshima.

Kodama: A Local service on the Tokaido and Sanyo lines, stopping at all stations and ideal for passengers travelling to intermediate destinations between major cities.

 

Mizuho: A rapid service on the Sanyo Shinkansen line, offering high-speed travel with limited stops between Shin-Osaka and destinations in Kyushu.
While you can use a JR Pass to board this Shinkansen, there is an additional charge you have to pay for it.

 

Sakura: Operating between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo in Kyushu, Sakura trains provide a balance between speed and frequency, catering to passengers travelling along the Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines.


Each Shinkansen service type caters to different travel preferences, with some prioritising speed and fewer stops for long-distance travel, while others offer more stops for passengers commuting to various destinations along the route. Travellers can choose the service type that best suits their itinerary and travel needs when using the Shinkansen in Japan.

 

You can find more information in our articles:

The 3 Trains of the Tokaido Shinkansen
Can I ride the Nozomi & Mizuho Shinkansen with the Japan Rail Pass?

The Shinkansen Bullet Train Network

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