A conglomeration of seven non-for-profit companies, Japan Railways administers one of the most extensive railway networks anywhere in the world. From the chilly climes of Hokkaido to the sunny skies of Kyushu and everywhere in between, there's few places you can't go on one of Japan Railway's iconic services.
Renowned for the Shinkansen bullet trains which snake the length and breadth of the country, Japanese trains are unremittingly punctual and particularly convenient for travellers. The oldest and most travelled railway line in the world is the famous Tokaido Shinkansen line, which hurtles passengers the 500 kilometres between Tokyo and Osaka in just under three hours.
Classes of Service
The highest standard of class available on Shinkansen trains, Gran Cars are available only on select lines, including the Tohoku Shinkansen line. Gran Cars seating is configured in a 2 x 1 arrangement and features at-seat power points, spacious legroom and a generous pitch. Light meals are included and passengers are entitled to unlimited drinks, including alcoholic beverages.
The Shinkansen's equivalent of Business Class, Green Cars are denoted by the green four-leaf clover on the doorways and attract an additional surcharge on the cost of the basic fare. Green Cars offer spacious 2 x 2 seating configurations, reserved seating and trolley service refreshments.
Though humble in name, the Shinkansen's Standard Class seating is nevertheless a high-quality affair. Generally configured in a 3 x 2 seating arrangement, Ordinary class seats are both roomy and fastidiously clean. Most carriages on intercity Limited Express trains are designated as Ordinary Class cars.