Japan Rail Pass and rail travel in Japan complete guide. Let's use the Japan Rail Pass to its maximum!!!
Ganbaro Tohoku

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


hikari_shinkansen

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.

Route

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

“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.

Hikari

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
NR NR NR NR NR R R G G G R R R R R R

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

Kodama

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:




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

  1. Marcio says:

    Hi Mr Takeshi
    Your information it’s so helpful, I would like to thank you and leave all my appreciation for the help you provide for so many people.
    I have another question. I have a group of guest coming next week for a tour from Tokyo to Naoshima and then Kyoto. I would like to know if the thicket they bought overseas for the Shinkansen can be changed, also to get to Naoshima we should go Okayama and then take another train or bus to Ono port. Is there any photo of the bus available? We re going to carry a lot of luggage and I want to know if the bus can allocate all of then. I have so many questions regard to this trip. Please help.
    Thank you again

    • Hi Marcio,

      First of all, regarding a ticket, it depends on how they booked it. I think only travel agent can book it from overseas. There are online booking site but it’s Japanese site only. I don’t think they used it. If they booked it through travel agent, they have to ask travel agent about a ticket condition. If they used it at Japanese online site, they may be able to change it once without extra. But I’m not 100% sure.

      When you go to Naoshima, you have to transfer to local train at Okayama. And you may need to transfer one more time at Chayamachi. It’s a junction to Uno and to Kojima / Takamatsu. Most of trains go to Kojima or Takamatsu. Some of trains go directly from Okayama to Uno. But you have to make sure the destination of trains. It train goes to Takamatsu or Kojima, you have to get off at Chayamachi and transfer to another train to Kojima.

      The train is a sort of commute train. There are several kinds of train running. I attach the sample photo. But no train has luggage space.
      http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%9B%BD%E9%89%84213%E7%B3%BB%E9%9B%BB%E8%BB%8A#/media/File:JRW-213.jpg

      Even Shinkansen does not have any luggage space.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/travel-tips/baggage/managing-luggage-how-to-carry-your-baggage-on-board-and-how-to-store-your-baggage-at-the-station.html

      I don’t have any information about bus to Uno. But once you got Uno station by train, ferry terminal is within walking distance.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. Hanna says:

    Hi,
    We are planning on going to Mt Fuji from Osaka. We plan on buying a shinkansen ticket from Shin Osaka station to Shin Fuji station. Can we buy the tickets the night before we intend to go? And do the tickets get sold out? Thank you.

    • Hi Hanna,

      The ticket is on sale one month prior to departure day. So you can purchase it one day before.
      Shinkansen ticket is easy to book as long as you don’t make a trip in the busiest period, such as mid August, New Years holidays.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  3. Evelyn says:

    Hi Takeshi-san,

    I’m planning for a japan trip next year and would like to know what will be the best way to travel from Osaka or Kyoto to Hokkaido and roughly how much does it cost?

    Appreciate your advise.

    Thank you.

  4. Chit says:

    Hi,
    I will be in Tokushima in June. I plan to visit Nagasaki (2 days) first before proceeding to Tokushima.

    Since my schedule is quite tight, is JR Pass applicable for me? Will it work from Osaka (Kansai Airport)-Nagasaki round trip?

    Thank you & hope to hear from you soon.

  5. mirriam chen says:

    Hi, Takeshi, We will travel back and forth between osaka and tokyo,and planning to buy JR pass for 7 days ,what JR pass is suitable for us, thanks a lot

  6. Amy-Liz says:

    I have an Ordinary JR Pass for my stay – is there a way to get from Tokyo to Osaka with the pass alone and no extra fares?

  7. Sandra says:

    Hi we are planing to travel from Osaka to Tokyo thru bullet train. Which line will I go and how much is the fare? Can i buy it thru there website? or Ticket station in Osaka? Please I need your help this is our first time to take a bullet train. I only need one way tkt from Osaka to Tokyo. How much a single trip tkt?
    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

I always welcome your comment. But before you leave a comment, please remember these following:

  • This is not an official website. This website, JPRail.com is a private website. I don't sell any tickets or passes.
  • I am not a travel agent. Please do not ask me to make an itinerary. I can check your itinerary and give you suggestion. I think making an itinerary is a part of your travel. Please try to make it by yourself. Enjoy! :)
  • If you need access information to your hotel, please don't ask me but ask your hotel.
  • If you are looking for the information about timetable, please refer Japan Railway's timetables.
  • If you are looking for the information about the fare, please refer Fare Calculation.
  • If you are looking for the information about reservation, please refer, How to reserve seat.
  • If you want to post, please comment to relate to the post. I will delete any unrelative comment to the post without notice.

If you still have a question, of course I can answer your question.
Please don't ask a question about other than train travel. :)

*If you are the first time vistor, your comment will not be shown before I approve.

*

Comments links could be nofollow free.

Find your hotels in 500 cities throughout Japan!!!

Tokyo (from US$16)
Kyoto (from US$21)
Osaka (from US$20)

Haneda Airport
Asakusa|Shinjuku
Fukuoka|Sapporo
Mt. Fuji|Takayama
Kanazawa|Hiroshima

And many more hotels in more than 600 cities throughout Japan!

JPRail.com site menu
Ticket Reservation
Timetables
Fare Calculation
Airport Access
Overnight trains
Shinkansen - Bullet train
Express trains
Japan Rail Pass - aka JR Pass
Other rail passes and tickets
Learn about Japan Railways
Destination guide
Sample itineraries
Tips for using JR Pass
News
Train operation status
Seasonal trains schedule
Forum
Ajax spinner

About JP Rail.com

This website is unofficial website about Japan Rail Pass, other rail passes and rail travel in Japan. It explains you how to use Japan Rail Pass and assists you to use Japan Rail Pass to its maximum! And also this site explain about many more rail passes, gives you tips and supports you to enjoy rail trip in Japan.

Read more about JP Rail.com

Recent Pins.

Follow Me on Pinterest
ACP Rail - Rail Passes Japan

Japan Rail Pass | Kyushu Rail Pass

Custom Search