Shinkansen (Bullet Train), Japan
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Review of "Shinkansen (Bullet Train), Japan"
Family and days of childminding now keeping me busy but I keep on rating more than writing. Thank you anyone who is kind enough to read then rate my reviews, especially those Es.
SHINKANSEN - THE BULLET TRAINDuring our trip to Japan earlier this year we had the opportunity to travel on the Shinkansen train twice so we had a good experience of using this train from different places.
According to our guide the Japanese are planning on replacing this train system for a more updated system ! I think we should offer to buy it from them as it is far superior to any of our train lines in the UK.
Japan's shinkansen rail network like everything we found in Japan is known for its punctuality, comfort, efficiency, safety and speed.
It reaches speeds of around 320 km/h so it is a great alternative to flying and a lot speedier than taking the roads. For the tourist like us it was also part of our Japanese experience
The next trip was from Kyoto to Tokyo and then we got the connecting rail service from Tokyo through to the airport and that was an experience walking for miles through an enormous station with our hand luggage as our hold bags were taken by the coach to the hotel at the airport where we were staying the night.
~~~~~~~ TRIP ONE ~~~~~Our guide took us to a small bakery on the station for us to buy something for our lunch as we were travelling over that time. Food is brought by a person with a trolley but selection is limited and sometimes they run out so he suggested we choose something we fancied from the bakery and also something to drink to keep us going till our evening meal.
The station we got the train from was not very busy so we were able to stand on the platform and wait for the train.There we were able to watch several train flashing through and a couple stopping and going on before ours arrived.
The trains are white and pointed at both ends , hence the name Bullet train. They are sleek and look a bit like a very long plane without wings and have so many carriages that they seem to go on forever. Now there’s a novel idea for British trains – put on more carriages and reduce the prices and more people would use them!!You have to book your ticket or at least buy it before getting as far as the platform. You are then allocated a carriage and a seat number. This is vital information and you need to find where carriage 42 (or whatever) stops so that you are in the right part of the platform ready when it stops. There are two doors for each carriage and each carriage has about 100 seats.
The trains don’t stop for long so you need to be ready to start getting on the train as soon as the people leaving the train have got off. You then hunt for your seat, place your luggage on the rack above your head or under your seat and then sit back and sigh a sigh of relief that you made it before the train started to go.~~~~~~ INSIDE THE TRAINS ~~~~~~~
Inside these trains you get seats like an airline that recline and everything is pristine. There is no litter, no broken windows, no ripped or tatty seats. It is truly immaculate and very comfortable. The seats are in pars down one side and threes on the other and we were lucky in that we had a two seater each time. This meant we had a window seat we could share.The view from the train on this journey was the famous one of Mt Fuji and my iphone took some great photos through the window despite the speed we were travelling at. Despite the speed the journey still took just under 4 hours but it was easy to read as there was very little noise or train wobble unlike our trains which wobble and clack.
The fare from Tokyo to Hiroshima costs around £200 so it isn’t cheap but it is more like an airline experience rather than a ride is a grubby wobbly train. The distance is around 800Km and the same journey by road would take around eight hours depending of course on traffic.When we arrived in Hiroshima we had to be ready to alight pretty efficiently as the train doesn’t stop for long. We were all lined up like good Japanese passengers with our luggage in hand ready to get off.
Hiroshima station was again, clean and it was not difficult to find our coach which was collecting us to take us to Miyajima Island for the afternoon. I have written a review on ciao about that island which was beautiful. http://travel.ciao.co.uk/Miyajima_Island_Japan__Review_6172251OUR SECOND TRIP
This took us from Kyoto to Tokyo and was a bit shorter . This trip lasted around two and a half hours and the cost for a ticket is around £150 .Kyoto station was quite a lot busier than the one we got on outside Tokyo and so we were not allowed on the platform until just before the train was due to avoid crowds on the platform.
Once again this train ride was over our lunch time so we were taken to a bakery in order to buy ourselves a picnic lunch to eat on the train.Once again we stood on the platform in the place where our carriage number was going to stop. We hopped on in the allowed time and found our designated seats easily as they are well labelled.
The trolley did come around on both our trips but we didn’t buy anything on the first trip as somehow we didn’t manage to get the young girl’s attention. This time we succeeded and managed to buy green tea ice creams which I had become addicted to while we were in Japan.This train was the same clean and comfortable carriage as the first and we happily settled back with our books while occasionally looking at the countryside passing by at speed through the window.
~~~~~~~~~ ANNOUNCEMENTS ~~~~~~~~On both our journeys there were announcements in both Japanese and English. they announced the approach of each station and then as we left the station they announced the next station and final destination. The English voice was very English and at the stations they were sometimes more American. Apparently they use real English or English speakers to do these announcements as we sat next to a lady in Hiroshima who was a university lecturer there and she did announcements for the Shinkansen sometimes. This was great as there was no struggling to make out strange pronunciation and instructions etc were easy to comprehend.
~~~~~~~ FARES AND TICKETS ~~~~~These depend on your age . An adult is anyone over age , Child - 6 through 11, Infant - 1 through 5 and Baby - below 1. The fares are reduced accordingly Children's basic fare, super (limited) express, express and designated seat tickets are 50 % of the adult price. But those for green carriages are the same as adults. Babies and infants are free unless there are three travelling with an adult or they have their own seat.
Tickets for adults vary depending if you want a designated seat or not so it is best to check the conditions as they are a bit complicated.You can buy them on line in advance and have them sent to your hotel or buy them at the station but leave plenty of time in case it is busy.
~~~~~~~~~ALSO BE AWARE ~~~~~~Smoking is not completely banned in Japan so if you want to request a smoking seat you can but otherwise most carriages are non smoking. There is a special part of one carriage that you can smoke in and the people were standing up in a line puffing away and you could really smell them as they passed through the carriage after being in there
Otherwise we will arrange a non-smoking seat.
~~~~~~~~ RECOMMENDED? ~~~~~~Yes indeed. It is such a quick, easy and painless way to travel. Even if you speak no Japanese the directions and announcements and station names are in English so there is no problem at all finding your way around the system.
I wish our trains were half as efficient and clean and quick and also had enough carriages and seats for all wanting to use them!Thanks for reading.
Product Information : Shinkansen (Bullet Train), Japan
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Listed on Ciao since: 23/04/2016