The Tokaido Shinkansen (東海道新幹線, Tōkaidō Shinkansen) is the world’s first and Japan’s best used high speed rail line with the fastest 5-stop Nozomi train running at intervals of 3 to 16 minutes, depending on the time of day. Coincidentally, the Tokaido Shinkansen celebrates its 50th anniversary this year on 1 October.
For users of the Japan Rail Pass, the Nozomi is not covered by the pass but you can take the slightly slower Hikari service which only takes 27 minutes longer. You are also allowed to board the all-stop Kodama service but you should only use it for a first-mile or last-mile service as it takes 4 hours and 4 minutes for the end to end journey. Seat reservations are free of charge for Japan Rail Pass holders.
Depending on which train you take, you may be served by a 700 series, N700 series or an N700A series Shinkansen. The 700 series is the oldest train serving the line with no power sockets attached by the windows. Otherwise, the comfort level is almost the same for all 3 types of trains.
There is almost no difference in comfort level for the N700, N700A or the upgraded N700 series (identified with the smaller A by the side logos).
Smoking rooms are also provided for smokers.
The historical line will pass by major cities of attraction such as Yokohama, Nagoya and Kyoto along the way, and even offers a majestic view of Mount Fuji on a clear day.
A view of Mount Fuji on a cloudy day.
Along the way, you will also get to see the preserved models of experimental sets that have shaped the Japanese Shinkansen network as we know it today.
From Shin-Osaka, you may transfer to the JR lines for train service to Osaka station where you can transfer to other stations around the Osaka Loop Line. You can board very frequent local or rapid trains for just 1 station.