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Shinkansen Nozomi Train Kyoto-Tokyo

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Published on Oct 31, 2009

Having searched for video of the logistics of getting around rail in Japan I thought I would post some footage that I took in case others were looking to set their expectations.

This is the Shinkansen Nozomi "Super Express" train from Kyoto to Tokyo, with video from my iPhone. The efficiency and refinement of everything in Japan is impressive, the trains especially so.

These trains were running less than ten minutes apart during our late morning departure. The "green car" you see in the clip is a first class car. Seating is 2 and 2 across. In the ordinary car, seating is 3 (A-B-C) and 2 (D-E), but legroom is more than adequate in both.. Most cars are reserved, with seating assigned like an airplane. There are also some unreserved cars, which work like any Amtrak train. On the platform, there are assigned waiting areas for each car on the train. Platform numbers were posted on the main board in Kyoto about 15 minutes before the train arrived. We had to go through two ticket scanning machines to actually get to the right track, and there were assistants at each post who spoke English. There are three smoking rooms on the train, vending machines, and carts that are used to sell food and beverages. Unlike the subway, people do eat on these trains. The closest restrooms are shown on the seat in front of you. Additional sinks are outside of these bathrooms; no towels are provided.

The train runs about 170MPH at top speed, but it's so quiet and stable inside that one could never tell without looking out the window. I did not observe anyone talk on a cell phone while on the train, and people were very hushed, which is typical even on the subway.

It is important to note that there is no dedicated luggage rack on these bullet trains, just a modest overhead shelf appropriate for medium-sized luggage only. We sent our large bags ahead from one hotel to another, for a cost of $15 each, and they arrived overnight.

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