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Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen (Bullet Train), Most popular train to Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Hakata from Tokyo.


Shinkansen (Bullet Train) at Tokyo station

Tokaido Shinkansen is the oldest and busiest Shinkasen line and it is operated between Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka. Sanyo Shinkansen is operated between Osaka, Okayama, Hiroshima and Hakata (Fukuoka). Both lines are connected each other. Many trains, “Nozomi” that is the fastest train on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen, run from Tokyo to Hiroshima and some of those run to even Hakata.

Most of Hikari run between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, But some of those run to Okayama and Hiroshima.

Sanyo Shinkansen connected to Kyushu Shinkansen at Hakata. Many trains, Mizuho and Sakura are operated between Shin-Osaka and KUmamoto or Kagoshima-Chuo directly. Please see the post, Kyushu Shinkansen to get details.

Many of you will use this train system between Osaka/Kyoto and Tokyo. In this post, I would like to share the information of this train system with you.



Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen run from Tokyo to Hakata via Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Odawara, Atami, Shizuoka, Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Okayama and Hiroshima. Please see several route maps below:

View Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen (Bullet Train) in a larger map

Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo – Shin-Osaka) route map

(C) Hisagi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

(C) Hisagi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

In the map above, there is a dotted line. JR Central is planning to build one more Shinkansen lines. But it may take a long time to complete.

Sanyo Shinkansen (Shin-Osaka – Hakata) route map

(C) Hisagi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

(C) Hisagi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Types of train

There are three types of trains on Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen.


“Nozomi” is the fastest train. It takes 2 hours 21 minutes from Tokyo to Kyoto, 2 hours 36 minutes from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka, and about 2 hours 30 minutes from Shin-Osaka to Hakata. (Shin-Osaka is one local station away from Osaka. Shinkansen does not have a station in downtown Osaka.) Nozomi is operated every 10 minutes during daytime between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, and operated every 20 to 30 minutes between Shin-Osaka and Hakata. All Nozomi are operated by the newest fleet N700 series. This train stops at Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Okayama, Hiroshima and Kokura. Some of this stops Shin-Kobe, Himeji, Fukuyama, Tokuyama and Shin-Yamaguchi.
*Be careful! The station name that has “Shin” is mostly NOT located in the city center. It is usually a few local stations away from city center.

Japan Rail Pass is NOT valid for Nozomi. Japan Rail Pass do not cover anything. If you want to take this, you have to pay full fare.


You cannot take Nozomi by Japan Rail Pass. Your choice is the second fastest train, it is called “Hikari”. It takes about 2 hours 45 minutes from Tokyo to Kyoto, about 3 hours from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka, and about 2 hours and 45 minutes from Shin-Osaka to Hakata. Hikari is operated every 30 minutes during daytime between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, and operated every 20 to 30 minutes between Shin-Osaka and Hakata. Most of Hikari are operated by 300 series. But 300 series will be discontinued to use on March, 2012. Newer 700 series will be replaced and some of Hikari will be operated by N700 series. Every Hikari stop Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Shin-Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kokura. Some of Hikari stop Odawara, Atami, Mishima, Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Toyohashi, Gifuhajima, Maibara, Nishiakashi, Himeji, Aioi, Shin-Kurashiki, Fukuyama, Shin-Onomichi, Mihara, Tokuyama and Shin-Yamaguchi.

So the differences between Nozomi and Hikari are following:

  • Frequency (Tokyo to Shin-Osaka) — Every 10 minutes Nozomi / Every 30 minutes Hikari
  • Time required (Tokyo to Shin-Osaka) — 2 hrs 36 mins Nozomi / 3 hrs Hikari
  • Accommodation — Nozomi by the best and newest fleet / Hikari by a bit older fleet

What do you think? Of course Nozomi is better and faster. But Hikari is good and fast enough to travel to Osaka or Kyoto from Tokyo. It is acceptable in my opinion. If you cannot accept it, you need to give up to use Japan Rail Pass anyway.

If you want to check the difference of interior of those trains, like 300, 700 and N700 series, please see the following posts:
Tokaido Shinkansen image gallery
Sanyo Shinkansen image gallery

Hikari train formation

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

R:Ordinary class reserved seat NR:Ordinary class non-reserved seat G:Reserved Green class (First class seat)


Kodama is the slowest train and stops at all stations on Shinkasen line. So you don’t need to take this except going to the station where Nozomi and Hikari do not stop.

I show the images of accommodations of Shinkanse trains at the following links:
Tokaido Shinkansen image gallery
Sanyo Shinkansen image gallery
Kyushu Shinkansen Mizuho and Sakura

You may also like these posts:

63 Comments to “Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen (Bullet Train), Most popular train to Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Hakata from Tokyo.”

  1. NInui says:

    What is the best way to get from Koyasan to Hagi? Thank you.

  2. Ching Teng says:

    Hi Mr Takeshi/JR rail,

    Im staying in Nagoya on coming september. can you advise me to mt fuji for a half day visit when im on my way to tokyo ? I dont have JR pass,planning to take shinkansen. Which station should it stop ? Can i buy the shinkansen ticket to tokyo, then stop over shin-fuji to hang around for few hours and catch the next shinkansen to tokyo ? Any cheaper price if i get a return ticket in station ? Thank you.

    • Hi Ching Teng,

      I think Mishima is better. Shin-Fuji station is not located in the town. But Mishima is located in the center of the city. There are lots of restaurants.
      If you want, you can get Gotemba by bus for 50 minutes one way. Of course you can see Mt. Fuji from Mishima station too.

      And you may find Hikari that stop at Mishima every two hours.

      But there is no Hikari that stop at Shin-Fuji. Only Kodama stop there and takes a long time to get there from Nagoya.

      You can purchase one base fare ticket and two separate Shinkansen surcharge ticket. Stopover is available for base fare ticket only. You mush have two Shinkasen ticket, Nagoya – Mishima (or Shin-Fuji) – Tokyo.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  3. Crystal Lew says:

    Dear Takeshi / JP Rail,

    Can you guide me the best railway route or train name from Nogayo to Sapporo? ( prefer overnight train). We are using the JR Rail Pass.
    Travel from 09 Dec 2014

    Many thanks for your guidance & reply.

    Crystal Lew

  4. Erty Mertjoe says:

    What is the best transportation from shin Osaka to Osaka station, Mr. TAKESHI? By JR train or Midousuji subway? My family & I will be arriving there from Tokyo by Nozomi on 31 July and stay at Intercontinental Osaka. Thanks.

    • Hi Erty,

      JR trains is much easier to catch and faster to get Osaka.
      One station away by JR and 3 stations away by subway.
      Please see the details about Shin-Osaka station at the following link:


      Takeshi / JP Rail

      • Erty mertjoe says:

        Thanks for your explanation, Mr. TAKESHI.Now I need your help to find out is it possible for us to change the time of Nozomi green car advance tickets(route Osaka to Tokyo on August 4th). I have bought 4 tickets for 1.30 pm to tokyo and wanna change to 11.00 am on the same date . Sorry for troubling you again . Thanks; )

        • Hi Erty,

          You can change it once without any handling charge before departure time.
          Of course if Green seat of 11:00 am departure is sold out, you can’t change it.


          Takeshi / JP Rail

          • Erty Mertjoe says:

            Dear Mr. TAKESHI,
            Many thanks for your explanation again:)
            FYI, My family & I will arrive in Tokyo on July 30 around 5.30-6.00 pm (with SQ flight from Singapore). We want to send over our 3 big luggages to Intercontinental hotel osaka by advanced luggages delivery service from Narita. Any suggestions which luggages delivery company is the best in service & price for me to use? As I have informed you before, we will go to osaka for the next day (31st July. 2.00 pm) by Nozomi, so we hope that our 3 luggages have been arrived by that day at Intercontinental hotel Osaka.
            Best regards,
            Erty Mertjoe

          • Hi Erty

            I know there are several cargo service companies in Narita. But I don’t have a price list.
            I think there is not much difference among the companies. All companies can deliver next day.


            Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Reddy says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Can you tell me a place in Tokyo/Kanagawa where I can buy the shinkansen ticket from Osaka/Kyoto to Hiroshima (to & fro)?. I have already purchased Tokyo to Kyoto (to & fro) and I cannot avail JR pass or JR west rail pass since I am a foreign national (without temporary visa).

    Thank you in advance.


    • JPRail says:

      Hi Reddy,

      You can purchase in any JR stations in Tokyo and Kanagawa. Even you will purchase a ticket for Osaka-Hiroshima, you can purchase it at any Midori no Madoguchi (reservation window) throughout Japan.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

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