Tokaido Shinkansen

Tokaido Shinkansen 東海道新幹線

The Tokaido Shinkansen is the bullet train line on the main Japanese island of Honshu that runs between Tokyo Station in the east and Shin-Osaka Station 500 km west. The Tokaido Shinkansen line thereby connects Japan's three biggest population centers of Kanto (greater Tokyo and Yokohama), Chubu (biggest city: Nagoya), and Kansai (Osaka and Kyoto).

The Tokaido Shinkansen line connects to the Sanyo Shinkansen at Shin-Osaka, which continues westwards. The Tokaido Shinkansen connects to three shinkansen lines at Tokyo Station:
-the Tohoku Shinkansen which, on its last leg as the Hokkaido Shinkansen goes as far north as Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto in Hokkaido, and has two branch lines: the Yamagata Shinkansen and the Akita Shinkansen.
-the Joetsu Shinkansen going northwards to Niigata.
-the Hokuriku Shinkansen going north-west to Kanazawa.

Shinkansen bullet train at Nagoya Station
Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train at Nagoya Station

Tokaido Shinkansen Line History

The name Tokaido means "eastern ocean road" and refers to both the Pacific coast of Japan from what is now Ibaraki prefecture down to Mie prefecture, and the road that connected them - a road that came to connect Kyoto with Edo (the old name for Tokyo) in the Middle Ages, and was the most important road in Japan by the Edo period.

The Tokaido Shinkansen opened in 1964, built to coincide with the holding of the first Olympic Games in Japan: the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The Tokaido Shinkansen was the world's first full-scale commercial high-speed railway line. More shinkansen history.

Bullet train arriving Nagoya Station, Nagoya, Japan.
The shinkansen bullet train is an icon of Japan

Tokaido Shinkansen Trains

Three kinds of train operate on the Tokaido Shinkansen: the super-express Nozomi, the express Hikari and the all-stations Kodama.

The fastest of the Nozomi services makes the Tokyo to Shin-Osaka trip in 2 hours 22 minutes, while the Hikari takes about 3 hours, and the Kodama about 4 hours.

Nozomi trains have 16 cars, 3 of which are non-reserved, 10 of which are standard reserved, and 3 of which are Green (i.e. First Class) reserved. All cars are non-smoking, but cars 3, 7, 10 and 15 have special smoking compartments (standing only).

Most Hikari trains have 16 cars (a few have 8), 5 of which are non-reserved, 8 of which are standard reserved, and 3 of which are Green (i.e. First Class) reserved. For the N700 series Hikari, all cars are non-smoking, but cars 3, 7, 10 and 15 have special smoking compartments (standing only). For the 700 series, all cars except for 1 Green car and 2 standard reserved cars are non-smoking.

Kodama trains with 16 cars have 10 non-reserved cars, 3 standard reserved cars, and 3 Green cars. For the N700 series Kodama, all cars are non-smoking, but cars 3, 7, 10 and 15 have special smoking compartments (standing only). For the 700 series, all cars except for 1 Green car and 1 standard reserved car and 1 non-reserved car are non-smoking.

For Kodama trains with 8 cars, most cars are non-reserved. The 500 series has one standard reserved car, the N700 series has 2 standard reserved cars and 1 Green car, and the 700 series has 1 standard reserved car with compartments.

Tokaido Shinkansen Map

See a Google Map of the Tokaido Shinkansen: the course of the line and station locations.

Todaido Shinkansen Stations

The Tokaido Shinkansen has 17 stations. The Nozomi super-express stops at 6 of them: Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokoyama, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka. The following is an overview of each station with train connection information.

Tokyo Station 東京駅

Tokyo Station is the first station on the Tokaido Shinkansen so is served by the Kodama, Hikari and Nozomi trains.

Change at Tokyo Station for the Tohoku Shinkansen, the Tohoku Main Line, the Chuo Main Line, the Sobu Main Line, the Keiyo Line, the Marunouchi Subway Line, the Ginza Subway Line (Kyobashi Station), the Tozai Subway Line (Otemachi Station), the Chiyoda Subway Line (Nijubashimae Station), and the Mita Subway Line (Otemachi Station).

Shinagawa Station 品川駅

Shinagawa Station is the second station on the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Change at Shinagawa Station for the Tokaido Main Line, the Yamanote Line, and the Keihin Kyuko Main Line.

Shin-Yokohama Station 新横浜駅

Shin-Yokohama Station in Yokohama is the 3rd stop on the Tokaido Shinkansen line.

Change at Shin-Yokohama Station for the Yokohama Line and the subway Yokohama Blue Line.

Odawara Station 小田原駅

Odawara Station is the 4th station on the Tokaido Shinkansen. Odawara is famous for Odawara Castle. The nearby resort town of Hakone is also accessed from Odawara Station.

Change at Odawara Station for the Odawara Line, the Daiyuzan Line, and the Hakone Tozan Line which goes as far as Gora station, 15 km away, for access to the Hakone area.

Atami Station 熱海駅

Atami Station in Atami is the 5th station on the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Change at Atami Station for the Ito Line (which at the last station, Ito, is continued by the Izu Kyuko Line to Shimoda.

Mishima Station 三島駅

Mishima Station is the 6th station on the Tokaido Shinkansen. Mishima City is famous for its ancient Mishima Taisha Shrine.

Change at Mishima Station for the Izuhakone Railway Sunzu Line which ends at Shuzenji Station, near the famous Shuzenji Temple.

Shin-Fuji Station 新富士駅

Shin-Fuji Station is the 7th station on the Tokaido Shinkansen. The most famous nearby sightseeing is Mount Fuji.

There are no train connections from the Tokaido Shinkansen at Shin-Fuji Station. The nearest station, Fuji Station, is 2 km way, accessible by bus from bus platform no.1 and serves the Minobu Line (which goes all the way to Kofu, the Limited Express Fujikawa (which runs between Shizuoka and Kofu on the Tokaido Main Line and Minobu Line), the Home Liner Numazu (which runs between Shizuoka and Numazulim on the Tokaido Main Line and Minobu Line), the seasonal overnight Moolight Nagara (which runs between Tokyo and Ogaki on the Tokaido Main Line), and the regular Tokaido Main Line.

Shizuoka Station 静岡駅

Shizuoka Station in Shizuoka City is the 8th station on the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Change at Shizuoka Station for the Shizuoka-Shimizu Line (a short line that it is within Shizuoka City and starts at Shin-Shizuoka Station, in the Shin-Shizuoka Cenova shopping complex, about 500 meters from the East Exit of Shizuoka Station).

Kakegawa Station 掛川駅

Kakegawa Station is the 9th station on the Tokaido Shinkansen. Kakegawa Castle is the main nearby attraction.

Change at Kakegawa Station for the Tenryu Hamanako ("Tenhama") Line.

Hamamatsu Station 浜松駅

Hamamatsu Station in Hamamatsu City is the 10th station on the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Change at Hamamatsu Station for the Enshu Railway Line (AKA "Nishi Kajima Line" or "Akaden").

Toyohashi Station 豊橋駅

Toyohashi Station in Toyohashi City is the 11th station on the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Change at Toyohashi Station for the Iida Line, the Meitetsu Nagoya Main Line, the Toyohashi Railroad Azumada Main Line streetcar (Ekimae Station), and the Toyohashi Railroad Atsumi Line (Shin-Toyohashi Station).

Mikawa-Anjo Station 三河安城駅

Mikawa-Anjo Station is the 12th stop on the Tokaido Shinkansen. Den Park (9:30 am - 5 pm (last entry 4:30 pm), but until 4:30 pm most days in Jan/Feb, 600 yen for adults, 300 yen for children; closed Tuesday except when Tuesday falls on a public holiday, when it is open Tuesday but closed the next day, and closed year-end/New Year) is a Denmark-themed amusement park 4 km south of the station, reflecting the region's comparison with Denmark in the early 20th century for its advanced agriculture.

Change at Mikawa-Anjo Station for the Tokaido Main Line.

Nagoya Station 名古屋駅

Nagoya Station is the 13th station on the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Change at Nagoya Station for the Kansai Main Line, the Nagoya Line (officially the "Meitetsu Nagoya Main Line"), the Aonami Line, the Kintetsu Nagoya Line, the Higashiyama Subway Line, the Sakura-dori Subway Line.

Gifu-Hashima Station 岐阜羽島駅

Gifu-Hashima Station is the 14th station on the Tokaido Shinkansen, and is about 13 km south of the center of Gifu City.

Change at Gifu-Hashima Station for the Hashima Line, which after one stop, at Egira Station, continues on to Gifu City as the Takehana Line.

Maibara Station 米原駅

Maibara Station is the 15th station on the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Change at Maibara Station for the Tokaido Main Line to access Omi-Hachiman, the Hokuriku Main Line, and the Ohmi Railway Main Line.

Kyoto Station 京都駅

Kyoto Station is the 16th station on the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Change at Kyoto Station for the Tokaido Main Line, the San'in Main Line (for access to Fukuchiyama), the Nara Line (for access to Japan's ancient former capital, Nara), the Kintetsu Kyoto Line (which also goes to Nara), and the Karasuma Subway Line.

Shin-Osaka Station 新大阪駅

Shin-Osaka Station is the 17th and final station on the Tokaido Shinkansen. However travel further westwards is seamlessly facilitated by the Sanyo Shinkansen.

Change at Shin-Osaka Station for the Sanyo Shinkansen, the Limited Express Super Hakuto (if you're going in the Tottori direction) and the Midosuji Subway Line.

Travel cheaply on the shinkansen with the Japan Rail Pass.