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Updated: February 20, 2024

Shinkansen trains speeding in and out of Tokyo Station is synonymous with the fast-paced and modern image of the city.

You can catch a glimpse of the iconic bullet trains at various places throughout the city, but for the real experience, book a ticket and take a trip on one of the sleek speedsters. The bullet train network fans out across Japan to most major cities.


It is possible to book shinkansen tickets online at the two links below, even before you step foot in Japan. The trains can get very busy on weekends and during holiday periods, so booking in advance is highly recommended. Tickets for the northern shinkansen lines are available through the JR East website, while tickets for shinkansen that run through the central and southern regions of Japan are available through the smart EX link. It is also possible to purchase tickets from JR Stations—either from a ticket machine, or from the manned Midori-no-Madoguchi ticket offices.

Rail Passes

While you can use your JR Pass to ride most shinkansen and other JR trains, paying an additional fee will let you board the Nozomi and Mizuho shinkansen. The Nozomi is the fastest train from Tokyo down to Hakata on the southern island of Kyushu. Also note that the JR Tokyo Wide Pass is not valid on the Tokaido Shinkansen.