Train travel is extremely popular in Japan, among both locals and visitors. Fast, reliable trains crisscross the country, offering a strong alternative to the car or plane, which is important in a country that relies heavily on imported fuel. Travel on a Japanese trains and you’ll soon have an insight into more reasons why the country’s rail services are so successful.
Of course, the Land of the Rising Sun is well known for the shinkansen – the “bullet trains” – that offer a 200mph dash between Japan’s bigger urbanized areas. Yet not every train in the country is super-fast. Ordinary zairaisen trains don’t usually go above 80mph, topping out at 100mph when they do.
The first bullet train line was the 320-mile Tōkaidō Shinkansen, which came into service in 1964. It runs between Tokyo and a dedicated station in Osaka, Japan’s third-largest city. Its many users rank it among the busiest high-speed lines in the world. Nowadays, there are several bullet train lines that cover most of Japan.