New Shinkansen projects, Nagasaki, Hokuriku and Hokkaido have been approved by government.

As of June 29, 2012, Japanese Government have approved three Shinkansen projects, Hokkaido, Hokuriku and Kyushu west route, a.k.a. Nagasaki route.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

First of all, Hokkaido Shinkansen will be extended to Sapporo from Shin-Hakodate.
As probably you know, a part of Hokkaido Shikansen from Shin-Aomori to Shin-Hakodate will be completed by 2015. At this time, the rest of Hokkaido Shinkansen route have been confirmed. The length will be approximately 211 km. There will be four stations, Shin-Yakumo, Oshamanbe, Kucchian, and Shin-Otaru on this route. This Shinkansen project will be completed by 2035.

Next one is Hokuriku Shinkansen from Kanazwa to Tsuruga. The length will be approximately 125.2 km.
Hokuriku Shinkansen is now called as Nagano Shinkansen. This Shinkansen officially is called Hokuriku Shinkansen. It will be extended to Kanazawa by 2014. The rest of Hokuriku Shinkansen route will be completed by 2024. There will be 5 station, Komatsu, kaga-Onsen, Awara-Onsen, Fukui and Nanetsu between Kanazawa and Tsuruga.

This Shinkansen might be extended to Maibara or Kyoto. But this section has not made any official announcement yet.

The last one is Kyushu Shinkansen west route. It is as known as “Nagasaki route”. But JR Kyushu and Nagasaki Pref. consider about Saga Pref. So they call this route as Kyushu Shikansen west route.

This line is completely different from other Shinkansen lines. Because this will be operated by gauge changed train. Now Shinkansen track has been already started to work between Takeo Onsen and Isahaya. At this time, between Isahaya and Nagasaki have been approved. The train go through conventional line’s track between Shin-Tosu and Takeo-Onsen, and share Shinkansen track between Hakata and Shin-Tosu with Kyushu Shinkasen.
This Shinkansen will be completed by 2022.

Once these Shinkansen open, existing conventional lines will be operated by third sector company. For example, Hisatsu Orange Railway in Kyushu, IGR Iwate Ginga Railway in Iwate and Aoimori Railway in Aomori used to be JR lines before Kyushu Shinkansen and Tohoku Shinkasen opened. In 2014, Hokuriku Shinkansen between Nagano and Kanazawa will be opened. It has already been decided that the existing conventional lines on same route will be operated by third sector companies. That means JR pass is available for only Shinkansen lines. It will not be available for these conventional lines. If you go to major cities, like Kanazawa, Hakodate, it will be no problem. It will be much faster and more convenient. However Shinkansen trains do not stop (or even no station on route) at small cities. Some travellers might pay extra and may be very troublesome.

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