When I was planning the trip to Japan, one of the things I was most looking forward to was trying out the high speed “bullet” train (the Shinkansen!)

In fact, the day of the ride, I was snapping so many pictures out of excitement near the train platform that I wondered if the kind folks in Japan thought, “Wow, has she never seen a train before?” To be fair, I was equally as excited when I took the high-speed Eurostar a few years back…

I got the Japan Rail Pass prior to arrival to Japan (more on this in an separate post), but onwards with the train journey to Kyoto!


We looked for our train to Shin-Osaka, which is the end stop. The journey includes a number of other stops, including our destination at Kyoto. Kyoto is the second to last stop on the line.

With the Japan Rail Rass, we can ride the “Hikari” bullet train, and it gets us to Kyoto in about 2 hours and 45 minutes. There is actually a faster bullet train service on the line, the “Nozomi” which has a shorter journey time with fewer stops. Just as a point of reference, the Japan Rail Pass does not cover the Nozomi.

We had reserved seating and excitedly got on for the ride.  It turned out we had reserved seating in the first compartment of the train.  Very nice!


Signage at the Shinkansen Platform











Storage Space


Seat View








The seats look like airplane’s seats, but they are quite comfortable. There’s also plenty of overhead storage space available!


Naturally, when you are riding on a “bullet” train, it’s hard to resist the urge to try to clock in the train’s speed at least once.




I missed trying the bento experience on the way to Kyoto, so I couldn’t pass it up on the return. I stopped by the shop at the train station and luckily, there were pictures on the counter to help me pick out a bento. The packaging was cute (kawaii!) and the food was fresh, but it was also cold…

If you missed the opportunity to buy a bento at the train platform, you can still buy snacks onboard. A staff wheeled a cart through the train compartments every now and then.


Bento Box


Bento Box and Pricing


Bento Food









The seats were comfortable, the views were nice, and the time flew by in a flash. There was no wifi on the train, but there were charging outlets on the floor near select seats.

Before long, we’ve arrived at the destination, thus concluding my first journey on a shinkansen. Overall, I thought it was fun riding on a shinkansen. It was an easy and comfortable ride, and it was a convenient way to get to Kyoto from Tokyo!
Have you tried the Shinkansen? Are there particular trains that you are just as excited about?