The 10 best steam trains in Japan

The haunting whistle of a vintage train is so ingrained upon our collective consciousness that even the youngest of children often recognize the sound. Before the advent of the bullet train and the modern railway system, the steam locomotive, or SL train, was the fastest way to get around.

Japan has preserved many of these trains, some dating back to the nineteenth century. You, too, can experience the nostalgic thrill of the steam locomotive. Grab your Japan Rail Pass, and have fun exploring the following SL trains.

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The Sanyo Shinkansen with the JR Pass

What thrills you most about western Japan? Is it the succulent taste and fine marbled texture of the famous Kobe beef? It is the surreal reminders of historic events to be found in Hiroshima? Is it the rich history of the area’s countless shrines, gardens, and temples? Or, do you wish to indulge in the modern shopping experience of Osaka Station city?

Whatever draws you, western Japan holds something for every traveler. Now, with the help of your Japan Rail Pass, getting there and getting around are faster and easier than ever. Find out how you can use the Sanyo Shinkansen Line to enhance your next Japanese vacation.

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Best Day Trips from Osaka by train

Osaka might not exude beauty the way Kyoto might, but the city definitely has charm, color, and great food. Set in the Kansai region, Japan’s third largest city is extremely well connected and has plenty of surprises in store.

If you’re a foodie, Osaka is the place to be. Its unofficial slogan is kruidaore which means ‘eat until you drop’.  A highly photogenic spot in the city is Dōtombori, here you will find several pedestrian streets and numerous illuminated billboards. One of the most famous signs is the Glico Running Man.

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Alfa-X Shinkansen: The 400 km/h Bullet Train

The next generation of Shinkansen bullet trains will begin testing next year. The state-of-the-art ‘Alfa-X’ is expected to travel faster than 400 km/h (almost 250 mph!) and will have a range of groundbreaking features.

The new bullet train will have an aerodynamic, 22-meter nose (longer than any train’s in history), improved traction control, and will be made from ultra-light materials.

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The Tokaido Shinkansen line

Tokyo and Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto. These five cities represent the three largest metropolitan areas in Japan. Together, they encompass some of the hottest travel destinations in the country.

If you’d like to visit all of these areas on your next visit to Japan, you are in luck. The Tokaido Shinkansen, one of Japan’s famous bullet trains lines, connects these cities, providing you with fast and easy access to the locations you want to see most.

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The Tohoku Shinkansen with the Japan Rail Pass

Japan is famous for its high-speed bullet trains. The fastest of these is the Hayabusa Shinkansen, which can be found on the Tohoku Shinkansen line in Honshu. An interesting feature of several Tohoku Shinkansen trains is that they offer only reserved seating. This is rare among the shinkansen, so if you wish to travel on this line, be sure to make your reservations early! Green cars and gran class cars are available on most trains, as are standing tickets when all seats are booked.

This train line has a long history. The first portion of the Tohoku Line opened in 1982, but its services did not reach Aomori until 2010. Today, this shinkansen bullet train line allows access not only to the length of the island of Honshu, but to high-speed train routes to some of Japan’s other islands as well. The Tohoku Shinkansen is the longest Shinkansen line in Japan, stretching 674 kilometers.

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The Hokuriku Shinkansen line

The Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa is considered one of the three most beautiful landscape gardens in Japan. Once the outer garden around the castle of a ruling family, Kenrokuen has been open to and enjoyed by the public since 1871.

Thanks to the Hokuriku Shinkansen, an extension of the Nagano Shinkansen Line that began operating in 2015, it is possible to cover the journey from Tokyo to Kanazawa. Now you can reach this and other attractions in Kanazawa- such as the Ninjadera Temple, the 21st Century Museum, the Oyama Shrine, the Omicho Market, or the Nagamachi samurai district – in record time. Consider the following information when making your plans for using the Hokuriku Shinkansen.

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Visiting the Izu Peninsula with the Izu Craile Train

Natural hot springs, beaches, mountains, and scenic coasts. This is just a taste of what the Izu Peninsula has to offer. Located conveniently near Tokyo and the Mount Fuji area, this resort area is the perfect getaway during your next trip to Japan. Start planning your vacation today using this helpful guide.

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Hello Kitty Shinkansen: The cutest bullet train

The Japan Railway West Co., better known as JR West, will debut a Hello Kitty bullet train service on its Sanyo Shinkansen line, June 30th, 2018. At the moment, like other special shinkansen trains before, it seems that this train will run for a limited time, for now it’s not known until when but, according to JR West, it will be announced 4-month a time.

This new must-do item has chosen Hello Kitty’s iconic red ribbon as the main theme, as a way to represent the strengthening of the ties between the Shinkansen services and the western part of the country. The best part? Continue reading “%s”