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Executive Insights

6 Things You Might Not Know About Japan’s Shinkansen

Shinkansen Train Japan

Shinkansen is the glory of the Japanese railway network. While the word Shinkansen means “new trunk line” which is a high-speed railway network in Japan, it is often used to refer to certain Japanese trains as bullet trains. The network has some of the fastest trains in the world, whose speeds can reach up to 320 km per hour.

Besides being the lifeline of the transportation network in the country, Shinkansen is also a major tourist attraction. While travelling on any of the trains on this network might be expensive, the ride is, however, worth all of it.

If you are in Japan or planning to go to Japan, it is advised that you certainly check out Shinkansen. In case you are not convinced of the network’s majesty, I have 6 facts to tell you about it which will totally impress you. So, here we go.

  1. Since 1964 and by an amazing designer
    Shinkansen is an attempt, and quite a successful one, to connect distant regions of the country and ensure rapid economic development. Today, it is said to be the fastest mode of transportation among metropolitan cities of the country.
    The network started in 1964 and was crafted by Hideo Shima, the country’s Chief Railway Engineer. This man loved what he did, and upon retirement when he was put at the helm of the National Space Development Agency of Japan, he promoted the use of hydrogen engines for rockets.
  1. Even Earthquakes Could Not Shake It
    Japan is known for its earthquakes and typhoons, and the Japanese have learned that they cannot escape them but learn from them. This form of resilience typical of Japanese culture has been embodied in the regulation of Shinkansen, making it one of the safest railway networks in the world.
    Shinkansen has been operational, as noted above, since 1964 and till date has carried over 10 billion passengers. Yet, no earthquake or typhoon has been able to shake it.
  1. Highly Punctual
    Ask an Indian Railway passenger what it means to have the train arrive on time and you will know what brilliance it is to ensure timely arrival and departure of trains. The Japanese railway network knows the value of punctuality and ensures the same.
    You might be surprised to read that the average delay in departure or arrival for Shinkansen is only 54 seconds, which also includes delays due to extreme weather conditions and natural calamities.
  1. Always Clean
    Without a doubt, Shinkansen is one of the cleanest railway networks across the globe. And, why should it not be? It has a world-class clean-up staff going by the name Shinkansen Theatre.
    The clean-up staff of the network manages to clean up the entire train in a short span of 7 minutes. Despite covering the entire train in a couple of minutes, trains are impeccably clean from inside. God knows what sorcery that is!
  1. There is no dearth of the trains for you
    If you thought the network would have comprised only a couple of trains, then you are wrong. It is Japan—once it sets its mind on to something, it never stops. Shinkansen has grown into a massive network of trains, including Mini-Shinkansen.
    Presently, the network runs more than 800 trains every day. At peak times, as many as 13 trains run per hour in each direction with a minimum time gap of about three minutes between them. Imagine how efficiently the network is operated!
  1. Foreigners Can Avail Discounts Through the Japan Rail Pass
    Tourism is a major source of money for the country. In addition to this, the declining population of the Japanese has resulted in increased incentives for foreign tourists to use the Shinkansen network. One such incentive is the Japan Rail Pass.
    Japan Rail Pass is a rail pass useful for long distance travel in Japan. It is only used by foreign tourists and provides transportation facilities at extremely low prices. The pass is valid on all trains throughout the entire Japanese Railway Network, including Shinkansen.

Make sure to purchase this pass before arriving here. It will save you a lot of time and money, making your travel superbly low in cost and more in comfort!


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Emma London
Emma London is a columnist and member of the ​CEOWORLD magazine editorial board. She's one of the magazine's founding editors and leads global newsroom coverage and management. Having lived in five different countries — the United States, Canada, Australia, Spain, and the United Kingdom - Emma is obsessed with how tech empowers people from all walks of life. She is fluent in Spanish.
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