One of the absolute highlights of my trip to Japan was seeing just how fast a high speed bullet train can go in real life. My friend Jen and I were completely caught by surprise when we were making our way from Tokyo to Mount Fuji. At one of the train stops, we came up with our luggage and heard this super loud noise. A bullet train ZIPPED by at what seemed like lightning speeds. I had never seen a train move that fast, well, let alone any object move that fast in my life! It was an incredible moment, and we even got to experience what they’re like on the inside just a few days later when we made our way to Kyoto.
I had heard from others that we should reserve seats in advance on the right side of the train for the best views (from Tokyo to Kyoto). Honestly though, I didn’t think this was absolutely necessary. The train moves so fast that everything is a bit of a blur. Therefore, I don’t think it matters where you sit exactly. I actually got a bit dizzy looking outside for long periods of time! It was the smoothest ride and we didn’t even realize how fast we were going until we looked outside. If you’re going during high season, some trains will sell out so it would be wise for you to reserve seats. Especially if you have a set time you need to be somewhere.
To take the train, we each got a Japan Rail Pass which you can purchase through reliable companies like Japan Experience. It made our entire Japan trip a lot easier. We pre-ordered the passes in advance of our trip (which is necessary) and went straight to Tokyo Station when we arrived to exchange the receipts for the passes. It was there we got all of our questions answered, including which routes would be best for our itinerary. I definitely recommend making sure that if you get the JRP you head to Tokyo Station in the beginning of your trip. This way, you can best understand how you can make the most of it before you leave the city and head to your next destination. They are super helpful and must frequently get tourists coming in asking the same sets of questions.
Overall, I truly think seeing a Japanese high speed bullet train (known as Shinkansen) in action should be on everyone’s bucket list. Japan has some of the fastest trains in the world. In April 2015, Japan actually set a world record for maglev trains to reach speeds of up to 375 MPH. THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY FIVE MILES PER HOUR! I mean, wow right!? If you ever have a chance to go to Japan, definitely check out the bullet and themed trains before you leave.
Please note I was welcomed as a guest by Japan Rail Pass. As always, all opinions are my own.
Visiting Kyoto? Here’s a unique experience to be transformed into Maiko
Visiting more of Japan? Here are all of my posts on Japan