Japanese Culture: Shinkansen
The Japanese Shinkansen, also known as the "bullet train," is a high-speed railway system in Japan. It is operated by Japan Railways Group, commonly known as JR Group, and connects major cities across the country.
The first Shinkansen line, the Tokaido Shinkansen, began operation in 1964, just in time for the Tokyo Olympics. Since then, several other lines have been added, including the Tohoku Shinkansen, Joetsu Shinkansen, Hokuriku Shinkansen, and Kyushu Shinkansen, among others. These lines cover most of the major regions of Japan.
The Shinkansen trains are known for their speed and punctuality. They can travel at a maximum speed of 320 km/h (200 mph), making them one of the fastest trains in the world. The trains are equipped with advanced safety features and are known for their smooth ride, making them a popular choice for both business and leisure travelers.
The Shinkansen trains have several classes of service, including ordinary, green car, and Gran class. The ordinary class is similar to a standard train carriage, while the green car is more spacious and comfortable. The Gran class is a premium service with even more luxurious amenities.
Overall, the Shinkansen is a remarkable feat of engineering and is considered one of Japan's greatest achievements in transportation. It has become an iconic symbol of Japan and is widely regarded as one of the most efficient and reliable rail systems in the world.
The Hokkaido Shinkansen is already open and has been in operation since March 26, 2016. The line runs from Shin-Aomori station in Aomori Prefecture to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station in Hokkaido, connecting the two islands by Shinkansen for the first time. The Hokkaido Shinkansen extension from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto to Sapporo is currently under construction and is expected to open in 2030.
It is expected that the travel time between Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto and Sapporo will be approximately 60 minutes once the extension is completed. The Hokkaido Shinkansen extension will greatly improve the transportation network of Hokkaido, making it easier for tourists and residents to travel to and from the island.
The Hokkaido Shinkansen will stop at several stations in Hokkaido, including:
- Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station (current northernmost station of the Hokkaido Shinkansen)
- Sapporo (expected to be the terminus station of the Hokkaido Shinkansen)
These stations will provide access to several popular tourist destinations in Hokkaido, such as the ski resorts and natural wonders around Niseko, Otaru Canal and the Sapporo Snow Festival.