What You Have to See in Japanese Railways

Shinkansen High Speed Rail

Shinkansen (high speed rail) is known for its punctuality. As a matter of fact, the average delay of a train of Tokaido Shinkansen in 2011 was 36 seconds. Shinkansen is also known for its safety. There has been no accident involving passenger fatalities since Shinkansen began its operation in 1964.

The Shikansen network is still extending now. The Hokuriku Shinkansen started its operation between Nagano and Kanazawa in March 2015. The Hokkaido Shinkansen will also start its operation between Aomori and Hakodate in a few years. You can find some more information on the network and features of Shinkansen at the following webpages:

At Tokyo Station, you can see several kinds of Shinkansen trains of East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) operated in high-frequency and in a punctual manner.

What you have to see

You cannot help surprising at the quick movements of cleaning staff when you see a train waiting for the departure in the opposite direction. Each of them works systematically and they exactly uses the short time effectively to clean up passenger seats, passageways, lavatories, etc. They make a great contribution to the good reputation of the punctuality on Japanese railways.

Urban Transport

In urban areas of Japan, a lot of people use trains for commuting. Hence, trains are operated very densely. In many lines, 20 to 30 trains with 8 to 10 cars are running per hour per direction on a double track.

One of the characteristics of urban railway transport of Tokyo area is that trains from suburban areas directly go into subway lines (which is called "direct operation"). Direct operation makes it possible for passengers to reach downtown of Tokyo without transferring. But one of the disadvantages of the direct operation is that timetables become complicated and delays easily propagate to other lines. Trains in Japan are believed to be punctual, but during morning rush hours, it is sometimes observed that trains run with a delay of several minutes. So, railway companies are now keen to reduce the delays.

New Lines Opened in the Near Future

In the spring of 2015, two new lines opened. One is Ueno-Tokyo line and the other is the Hokuriku Shinkansen between Nagano and Kanazawa.