PHX787
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Posts: 7881
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Shinkansen Hints

Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:27 pm

Hey guys,

I'm sure you all know where I'm now but I wanna go somewhere else now   (Just for a weekend trip)
A few classmates and I expressed the idea of hopping on the Shinkansen to go somewhere.

While at Tokyo Station I saw the new E-6 series Shinkansen (Super Komachi)....It was so beautiful, so I'm guessing that my first Shinkansen trip will be en route to Akita  

Now my question: Anyone have any experience on riding the trains?
Is there anything I should bring with me for a 2 or 3 day trip away from Tokyo on Shinkansen?
Tips at the stations? (Tokyo station has a lot of Bento places so I won't go hungry)
What about what side of the train to sit on?

What car should I sit (in terms of service, rest rooms, noise, etc)

Any other hints?

Photos?

Here's the new E-6 (dubbed Japan Red but I refer to it as Big Red   )
http://i47.tinypic.com/oh4e9u.jpg
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Braybuddy
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RE: Shinkansen Hints

Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:45 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Thread starter):
Now my question: Anyone have any experience on riding the trains?
Is there anything I should bring with me for a 2 or 3 day trip away from Tokyo on Shinkansen?
Tips at the stations? (Tokyo station has a lot of Bento places so I won't go hungry)

There are so many Shinkansen trains (in fact they seem to be the standard form of intercity rail in Japan) that you just have to be careful to get on the right one! They are VERY punctual, so if you are running to catch one, just make surel that the train waiting at your platform is the right one as different trains can pass through within minutes of each other. And if you do happen to miss one (I assume you have a JR pass), don't worry, the next one will not be far behind and you can hop on that.

It's a very pleasant experience, but you don't really have a sense of the speed at which you are travelling, so it's easy to think you are on any intercity train. And be careful to use up your pass on the day of expiry, otherwise you'll have to pay the full fare, which is as expensive as air travel in many parts of the world.

You'll love it!
 
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2707200X
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RE: Shinkansen Hints

Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:08 pm

The E6 looks almost like the Batmobile from the early nineties Batman movies. JR has so many types of trains in service.
The first train to really catch my eye was the 500 series with its Concorde looks.
"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by." John Masefield Sea-Fever
 
rfields5421
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RE: Shinkansen Hints

Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:13 pm

Of course my experience is very outdated.

Back in the early 80 some of us to the Shinkansen to the Nebuta Festival in Aomori two years in a row.

It was a great trip. But I found the slow night train back also a wonderful experience.

The view will be wonderful.
 
nwadeicer
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RE: Shinkansen Hints

Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:02 am

What is the tail number  
I miss the Red Tail
 
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Aaron747
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RE: Shinkansen Hints

Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:54 am

Quoting PHX787 (Thread starter):
Now my question: Anyone have any experience on riding the trains?
Is there anything I should bring with me for a 2 or 3 day trip away from Tokyo on Shinkansen?
Tips at the stations? (Tokyo station has a lot of Bento places so I won't go hungry)
What about what side of the train to sit on?

What car should I sit (in terms of service, rest rooms, noise, etc)

Bunch of quick hits as I regularly use shinkansen for work-related daytrips (these basically apply for traveling westbound from Tokyo through Osaka or Hakata)

1. Use the trains that terminate in Osaka or Okayama whenever possible. The through trains that terminate in Hiroshima and Hakata are obviously more crowded due to passengers traveling the length of the route.

2. When using a non-reserved ticket, unless you line up about 15 minutes early for the train you plan to take, you'll be guaranteed not to get a seat when traveling between 6 and 8:30 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

3. Going westbound, sit on the right side of the train for the Mt. Fuji view. Opposite going east.

4. Mobile data service gets very spotty in the mountain pass between Nagoya and Maibara. Same is true of the series of tunnels between Shin-Fuji and Odawara.

5. A bit of local hooting here, but the best platform meal in the entire system is the kishimen place on the JR platform in Nagoya.

6. In many cases, when returning to Tokyo (especially Shinjuku/Shibuya/Meguro/Setagaya wards) it is easier (and slightly cheaper) to transfer at Shinagawa. It takes around 3 minutes to walk to Yamanote and several other key lines.

7. Avoid the smoking cars like the plague.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
PHX787
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RE: Shinkansen Hints

Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:49 am

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 5):
6. In many cases, when returning to Tokyo (especially Shinjuku/Shibuya/Meguro/Setagaya wards) it is easier (and slightly cheaper) to transfer at Shinagawa. It takes around 3 minutes to walk to Yamanote and several other key lines.

I live in Shibuya so if I'm going to/from Nagoya/points south and west, it will be from Shinagawa.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 5):
7. Avoid the smoking cars like the plague.

They still have these?!

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 5):
3. Going westbound, sit on the right side of the train for the Mt. Fuji view. Opposite going east.

Ryokai desu.

Quoting NWAdeicer (Reply 4):
What is the tail number

Wait what? lol

Quoting 2707200X (Reply 2):
The first train to really catch my eye was the 500 series with its Concorde looks.

Isn't this the maglev train?
Follow me on twitter: www.twitter.com/phx787
 
bill142
Posts: 7861
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:50 pm

RE: Shinkansen Hints

Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:13 am

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 6):
Isn't this the maglev train?

Nope.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinkansen_500_Series
 
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allrite
Posts: 2402
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RE: Shinkansen Hints

Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:52 pm

I haven't been on the E6 yet, but note that it will only go really fast (300 km/h+) on the Tohoku section of track, not the bit from Morioka to Akita. If you want a weekend trip that's scenic you could try catching a Shinkansen up to Shin-Aomori, then the very pretty Gonosen line around the coast to Akita and return to Tokyo on the Akita Shinkansen (E6). Hirosaki is a pleasant place to stopover with lots of apple treats and an interesting neputa museum. At Akita you can get some kiritanpo nabe from restaurants on the top floor of the shopping centre attached to the station.

An alternative could be catching the Yamagata Shinkansen to Shinjo, which is another pretty ride, a local train to Kakunodate and then Shinkansen onwards to Akita or back to Morioka and Tokyo. Or there are dozens of variations depending on which scenic local line you like to take! Just note that the Joetsu Shinkansen from Niigata isn't very scenic.

Sit on the left side of the Tohoku Shinkansens going north.

You can take a look at my blogs here and here for more details and links to photos.

Apart from the area around Mt Fuji, I find the Tokaido Shinkansen line to be pretty poor scenically, though the trains are very comfortable. If you want a pretty journey, take local trains through the mountains or along the coast - some of the scenery is simply magnificent and often the trains are quite comfortable, if not always fast. See my travel blog for plenty of examples. The only Shinkansen lines I haven't caught are all the way between Morioka and Akita, except for a short stretch Omagari to Kakunodate, the Nagano line between Nagano and Takasaki, and the Hakodate to Shin-Yatsuhiro stretch of the Kyushu line to Kagoshima (still under construction at the time)  
I like artificial banana essence!
 
Jet-lagged
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RE: Shinkansen Hints

Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:36 am

A fond memory was returning Osaka to Tokyo on a Friday evening. So many salarymen returning home after a few days or week away, a very jovial atmosphere. Everyone had snacks and a 500 ml beer or two.

Best make sure you have a reserved seat. I stood Sendai to Tokyo once, making it a bit of a long trip.

The stations have lots of bento fare. You might save a few Yen buying things outside, before you pass the station turnstiles.

Have big fun!

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