Joetsu Shinkansen 上越新幹線
The Joetsu Shinkansen was the pet project of prime minister Tanaka Kakuei who was born in Niigata and wanted to connect his hometown with the capital. The Joetsu Shinkansen was constructed during the 1970's and opened in 1982.
The Joetsu Shinkansen connects with the Nagano Shinkansen in Takasaki with trains to Karuizawa and Nagano. The Nagano line is in the process of being expanded, to become the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Kanazawa, Tsuruga and Osaka.
Joetsu Connections & Japan Rail Passes
There are 2 services operating on the Joetsu Shinkansen.
Toki - named after the Japanese Crested Ibis - this is the faster of the two shinkansen services from Tokyo to Niigata. The Max Toki is a double decker, two story version of the Toki.
Tanigawa - the Tanigawa is the slower of the two services and runs between Tokyo and Echigo Yuzawa. In winter some Tanigawa trains continue on the Gala Yuzawa Station, from where there are ski lifts from the station to the resort. The Max Tanigawa is a double decker, two story version of the Tanigawa.