Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Known for speed, reliability, safety and comfort, the shinkansen is not only a convenient way to get around the country, but has also become a symbol of Japan. The first shinkansen line was opened in 1964 between Tokyo and Osaka as the world's first high speed railway line. It was named after the Tokaido, the main road that connected Tokyo with Kyoto during the feudal ages. Since then, the shinkansen network has grown steadily to reach most regions of Japan; however, the Tokaido Shinkansen remains Japan's most important and most used shinkansen line, connecting the country's three largest metropolitan centers of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. As convenient as the shinkansen may be, the finer details of using it may still be a little bit of a challenge to first-time visitors. So in this video we're going to explain how to buy and use shinkansen tickets, and also the nuts and bolts of actually riding the shinkansen. So without further ado, here are our tips for “How to Use the Tokaido Shinkansen” Starting at Tokyo Station, the Tokaido Shinkansen goes all the way to Shin-Osaka. There are 3 categories of train operating on the Tokaido Shinkansen: -The fastest train category, known as the Nozomi, stops only at Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka and takes about 2.5 hours to reach Shin-Osaka Station from Tokyo. Several Nozomi continue on beyond Shin-Osaka in the direction of Hakata. Do remember that the Nozomi is one of the few JR trains which cannot be used with the Japan Rail Pass. -The Hikari is the second fastest train category. It serves a few more stations than the Nozomi and requires around 3 hours to get from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka Station. Some Hikari run west beyond Shin-Osaka. -Finally, the Kodama is the slowest train category on the Tokaido Shinkansen. Stopping at every station along the way it takes around 4 hours to reach Shin-Osaka Station from Tokyo. Two different seat classes are offered along the Tokaido Shinkansen: ordinary class and business class, called green car. Whilst seat reservations are mandatory for green cars, ordinary class cars offer the option between non-reserved and reserved seats. In Nozomi trains, cars 1 to 3 are non-reserved, while in Hikari trains, cars 1 to 5 are non-reserved. Three green cars are located in the middle of the trains in cars 8, 9 and 10. The remaining cars carry reserved, ordinary seats. Now that we understand the network a little better, let's talk about tickets. Shinkansen tickets are made up of the base fare and a limited express fee. Travelers in green cars additionally pay a Green Car fee. As a result, shinkansen passengers often receive two actual tickets: one for the base fare and one for the supplement fees, although sometimes, the two tickets are combined into a single one, and on more complex journeys you may receive more than two tickets. There are several ways to buy tickets for the bullet train. Option 1: Purchasing a ticket at a ticket counter. Shinkansen tickets can be bought from any ticket counter located in JR stations nationwide. When purchasing from the counter, you will need to provide the staff with following information; Number of travelers, Date of travel, Departure and arrival station, Ordinary or Green Car, Reserved or non-reserved seat. If you wish to make a seat reservation, you should additionally specify the train you wish to ride by providing the train's departure time or train name and number, for example Hikari 513. Option 2: Purchasing a ticket at a ticket machine. You can purchase a shinkansen ticket from one of the various ticket machines located near the shinkansen gates. They have an English option and will guide you through the whole process of buying correct tickets. Option 3: Tokaido Sanyo Shinkansen Online Booking Service This service allows travelers to purchase shinkansen ticket online and then either pick up the tickets at a ticket machine or use an IC card, such as Suica, Toica and Icoca, to tap through the ticket gates.: Access the website or install the app Register credit card and optionally an IC card Book a shinkansen Pick up the ticket at a machine or use your registered IC card to tap through the ticket gates Option 4: When using a Japan Rail Pass Last but not least, if you have a Japan Rail Pass, there is no need to get any additional ticket unless you wish to make a seat reservation. Seat reservations can be made with no additional fee. Oversized Baggage Travelers with oversized baggage are required to make a seat reservation for a seat in the last row of a car before boarding the shinkansen so they can store their baggage behind their seat. A baggage is considered oversized when its height, width and depth add up to more than 160cm. Reservations for an oversized baggage can be done either at the ticket counter, via the ticket machine or online through the Tokaido Sanyo Shinkansen Online Booking service . Passengers who board a shinkansen without a reservation for their oversized baggage will be asked by the train conductor to move their baggage to a space specified and will have to pay an extra fee of 1000 yen which is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass. Also, travelers with oversized baggage may not use non-reserved seats. How to use the Tokaido Shinkansen Before boarding Once you have your tickets, it's time to board your train, but first you have to go through the shinkansen ticket gates. When using paper tickets, just put the tickets together and insert them inside the machine. Make sure not to forget to take them back when they reappear on the other side. Those who use an IC card with official online booking service, just tap through the ticket gates and pick up the ticket that comes out the other side. Throughout the train station you can find electronic sign boards displaying in Japanese and English the upcoming departures, including departure times, train names and numbers, destination station and the platform number from which the train departs Trains along the Tokaido Shinkansen are about 400 meters long, so it is a good idea to find the location of your car before the train arrives. Signs on the platform indicate where each car and its doors will be located and where to form lines. Displays on the side of the train and inside the train will indicate the car number and whether the car is reserved, non-reserved or green. On board the train When the shinkansen arrives, make sure to let all passengers alight before boarding, Then, find your seat if you have a reservation. Seat number and letter are clearly indicated, in a similar way as on airplanes. Make sure to board quickly and not to block the aisle in order to ensure that everybody can board swiftly. If you are travelling with baggage, you can place it onto the overhead shelf over your seat. Oversized baggage should be placed behind your reserved seat in the last row of the train. Make sure not to place your baggage near the train doors or anywhere else where it would block the way. Amenities on-board include: Electric outlets, spacious and usually clean restrooms in every second car as well as a few smoking rooms. You can recline your seat, as well as rotate the row of seats if you are travelling as a group. When reclining your seat, do it with caution, in order to not bother the person behind you. Make sure to return your seat back to its original position before getting off, and to take all garbage with you. Unlike on local trains, eating and drinking on the shinkansen is perfectly acceptable. A food cart service offering drinks and snacks is available on Nozomi and Hikari trains. Finally, a good thing to know when riding the Tokaido Shinkansen is that on a clear day you can get a beautiful view of Mount Fuji. Seat E (or seat D in Green Class) are the seats with the best, unobstructed views of Japan's iconic mountain. Riding around Japan by bullet train is a great way to see the country, and hopefully now you feel confident using the Tokaido Shinkansen. For more information or to watch another video, click the links on the screen now or head over to Japan Guide dot com, your comprehensive, up-to-date travel guide, first hand from Japan. Thanks for watching. Be sure to subscribe and click the notification bell for more videos about Japan. Happy travels!