A Guide to Discovering Japan by Bullet TrainDestinations
Japan is an archipelago situated in the north pacific-ocean that consists of 6,852 islands, with five main islands making up the country that we know of.
Japan is famous throughout the world as being one of the forerunners in the manufacture of electrical appliances and cars.
The country boasts a culture unlike any other in the world merging the old and new together in a fusion of oriental customs and traditions with western corporate ideology.
As well as it's famed manufacturing industry, it's beautiful Shinto temples, pagodas, Geisha girls, martial arts and Springtime cherry blossom, Japan is also famous for leading the world in train technology and travel.
Japan's Bullet Train or Shinkansen, is the fastest and safest train in the world, attaining speeds of over 300 km / h or 186 mph with a 100 % safety record and the service it provides is the world's busiest, carrying 151 million passengers a year.
Different models of The Bullet train.
The trains are famous for being the most efficient service in the world with an absolute guarantee of always being on time.
The high tec electric trains run on an exclusive, continuously welded, standard gauge track consisting of five routes on Japan's main island of Honshu and one route on the Island of Kyushu.
The Shinkansen routes.
THE TOKAIDO LINE
The Hikari service, uses the Tokaido line, a 515 km long service built in 1964, which starts from the country's capital in Tokyo and terminates at Osaka.
The Bullet that performs this service travels at speeds of upto 270 km / h and takes 3 hours on the non stop service, but, as there is a train every five minutes leaving Tokyo, taking the four hour train containing stops is a great way to see some of Japan's top landmarks and tourist attractions.
The port of Kobe.
The route takes in passing the world famous Mounts of Fuji and Ibuki, stopping at the world's largest train station at Nagoya, passing through Japan's vast tea plantations via the ancient cities of Kyoto and Nara and terminating at Japan's second largest city of Osaka, world famous for it's port and city at Kobe.
The Bullet passes Mount Fuji.
THE SANYO LINE.
The Nuzomi service uses the Sanyo Line a 553 km service completed in 1967 which originates in Osaka and takes a 2 1/2 hour scenic route along the south coast to Hakata, via the tragic city of Hiroshima.
Tokyo's Shinkansen station.
THE TOHUKO LINE.
Japan's Northern Line Service, which at 593 km is the longest of the Bullet's services, operates on the Tohuko Line which was completed in 2002 and traverses north from Tokyo through the Shirakami - Sanchi mountain range terminating at the Pacific coastal city of Hachinohe.
This area in the northern province of Aomori is home to the largest virgin Beech forest in the world and contains several World Natural Heritage Sites, national parks and ancient castle and temple ruins.
The Japanese Alps.
THE JOETSU SERVICE.
The Joetsu service is an offshoot of the Tokaido Line completed in 1971. The 269 km service cuts cross country from east to west from Tokyo to Niigata on the west coast, traversing through heavily forested mountains and lush, green arable plains towards the Japanese Northern Alps of the Hida Mountains, the Central Alps of the Kiso Mountains and the Southern Alps of the Akaishi Mountains, vast ranges with several peaks of over 3000 metres and home to several ski resorts, hiking routes, National Parks and active volcanoes.
An 18km offshoot of this line opens in the Winter months in order to accommodate the winter ski tourists, which operates from Niiagata to Goya.
The Bullet passes through Japan's tea plantations.
THE NAGANO LINE.
The Nagano line links the cities of Takasaki and Nagano and was completed in 1997 in time for the Nagano Winter Olympics.
The 117 km route takes you through Japan's central highlands, an area reknowned for it's spectacular natural beauty which hosts mountians, lakes and forests and is a haven for nature lovers, and boasts a myriad of inland mountain resorts, spas and spiritual retreats.
The island of Kyushu.
THE YATSUSHIRO LINE.
The Yatsushiro - Kagoshima line is the only line in operation outside the main island of Honshu.
This 126 km line operates on Kyushu Island south of Honshu.
Kyushu is an island situated on the East china Sea with a terrain of active volcanoes, hot springs, beautiful beaches and holiday resorts.
It's sub tropical climate gives rise to it's thriving rice, tea, tobacco and silk industries in it's interior and it's major city of Fukuoka has been awarded with the honourable title of Most Pleasant City With Which to Live in the World.
For Bullet train guided tours, independent travel and price guide visit the websites below .
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The Shinjuku district of Tokyo.
© D.B.Bellamy. April 2010.
All images courtesy of wikimedia images.