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Get Your Bullet Train Tickets Online

If your Japan travel plans involve a trip outside of Tokyo you will most likely be planning a ride on the bullet train or shinkansen. You can now make your reservations online from the comfort of your own home. In March, the JR East Japan Railway Company started an internet reservation service for overseas customers.

Shinkansen is a high-speed rail system that serves as the core of Japan’s rail transportation network…In the almost 40 years since it opened, the Shinkansen network has carried over 6 billion passengers without a single major accident. The Shinkansen network boasts not only high speed -up to 300 kilometers per hour-, but also high frequency. For example, at least six trains per hour (not per day!) operate between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka Stations during daytime hours. Although the phrase ‘bullet train’ is popular overseas, in Japan you will only see Shinkansen on English signs. But no matter what you call it, the Shinkansen network will be your key to comfortable and speedy travel throughout Japan.

The JR East Shinkansen Reservation system can be used to make a reservation but you will need to register as a member (free of charge) during the reservation process. A credit card and e-mail address will be required for membership. Take a look at the map of the service area and the timetable to see what destination inspires you.

You can reserve your seat up to a month in advance or as late as 5PM Japan time three days prior to your travel date and an email confirmation will be issued. Take your confirmation email and the credit card that you used to make your reservation to a Midori-no-madoguchi (Reservation Ticket Office), a View Plaza (Travel Service Center) or the Information Center that you specified in your reservation. Tickets can be picked up at anytime after the reservation is made but no later than 9PM on the day before the travel date.

This reservation system is intended primarily for people entering Japan via Narita Airport as tickets cannot be picked up in Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, or Sapporo.

Photo Credit: Flickr, Shinkansen, Source: Japan Railways Group Shinkansen Information Page