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Published: October 29th 2014
Japan's Shinkansen (Bullet Train) service. The only way to travel! At least, now that I have experienced it, I would like it to be my only form of public transportation for the remainder of my life, but alas, that won't happen. I can only wish. You wait on the platform for the train to arrive, wait a few minutes for them to clean it, then they let you on. No security lines, no taking off your belt or shoes, no fighting for overhead bin space, you just go on. Oh and yes, no seat belts either. These fast trains begin moving slowly and they decelerate slowly as well. The ride is smooth and quiet, no clickity clack. It is such a pleasant experience. I also found it interesting that the crew, as they departed a given car, would bow to the passengers on that car, before departing that car.
I did a little research prior to my departure for Japan and learned that as a visitor I could obtain a Japan Rail Pass. Something not available to the Japanese for some reason. However, you do have to obtain a voucher for a Japan Rail Pass prior to your arrival in
Right turn heading South out of the station
Japan. Once you arrive in Japan, Japan Rail will replace your voucher with a real Japan Rail Pass and you need to present your passport at that time as well.
I only needed the rail pass for about a week as I was planning on traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto on 21 Sep, Kyoto to Hiroshima on 25 Sep, and Hiroshima back to Tokyo on 27 Sep. Would have been nice to have it on 28 Sep as well to save me the ¥ 3000 or so for the NEX ticket from Shinjuku to the Narita airport. They do not seem to sell the pass on an individual day basis, but rather in units of weeks.
In any case, I found the standard Japan Rail Pass for a week was about USD $300, and I could get the upgrade to the Green cars (their first or business class equivalent) for just USD $80 more, so I elected to get myself a Green car pass. Oh yes, also, in the Green cars, you get a reserved seat, which is quite handy should the Green cars be really popular when you are visiting. For my entire week riding JR trains
though, I was never in a Green car that had more than about 60%!f(MISSING)ull. There were always plenty of seats, and on each 15 car Shinkansen train, they have a few cars which are Green cars. Each car is really long too. I did find it odd that no food or drink was free in the Green cars. Yep, even a bottle of water might cost you ¥ 200.
Here is a brief video traveling at speed on my way from Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima :
The following video is not mine, but captures the experience in far more detail :
Tot: 2.025s; Tpl: 0.04s; cc: 14; qc: 54; dbt: 0.0176s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb