What is the Bullet Train?

The Bullet Train (or Shinkansen) is one of the most recognizable Japanese icons. The blue and white trains most frequently recognized around the world are actually the older models -- the new ones are even better looking (and faster, of course.)

What's it like to watch one go by?

In late 1989 I lived in Hamamatsu for a while very near the Shinkansen tracks. We would see this sight (below) almost every day as the trains went by. The nighttime scene was a bit more exciting, as you could see a constant spark between the train and the electrified wires above it.

Even on the bullet train there are "local" trains that stop at every station and "express" trains that only stop at the major cities. If you ever find yourself at one of the "lesser" bullet train stations this is a frequent sight.

What's it like to ride it?

The shinkansen has an amazingly smooth ride. The video below may look like it's being played in fast-forward, but it's not... The train is just really hauling when it gets up to speed.


©2018 Taylor Anderson

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