Japan’s bullet trains (or shinkansen) fly across the country like a, um, speeding bullet – running at speeds of up to 198.84mph (320 km/h). The lines cover the whole country from Kagoshima at the southern tip of Kyūshū, to Hakodate on the northern island of Hokkaidō, with stops at most of the major tourist hotspots.
Bullet Trains were introduced on the Tokaido Shinkansen line back in1964 but four decades later, the country has an exemplary network of high-speed lines, and pioneered engineering that has been copied throughout the world. And like most things in Japan, these trains run like clockwork. They’re punctual, run every day of the week and carry more than 130 million passengers.
But despite the incredible speed in which they travel, they still manage to maintain a calm, Zen-like vibe for the passenger inside.
As the Japanese avoid conflict at all costs, one of the best things about travelling by train is there’s no fights over allocated seating, armrests or luggage space. It’s an all-round peaceful experience – they’re safe (no fatal accidents in its history), have wifi, a trolly service and stunning views. A one-way shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Akita usually costs ¥17,920 (around $160), so it ain’t cheap, but you’re guaranteed a bit of posh, peace and punctuality, so worth that little bit extra.