Kodama (train)

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JRW-500 V2 inHimeji.jpg
JR West 8-car 500 Series Shinkansen on a Kodama service at Himeji Station, August 2009
Service type Shinkansen
First service1958 (Limited express)
1 October 1964 (Shinkansen)
Current operator(s) JR Central, JR West
Start Tokyo (Tōkaidō Shinkansen)
Shin-Osaka (San'yō Shinkansen)
End Shin-Osaka (Tōkaidō Shinkansen)
Hakata or Hakataminami (San'yō Shinkansen)
Line(s) used Tōkaidō Shinkansen
San'yō Shinkansen
On-board services
Class(es) Green/standard
Catering facilitiesNone
Rolling stock 500/700/N700 series
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification 25 kV AC overhead
Operating speed285 km/h (175 mph) [1]

Kodama (こだま, "Echo") is one of the three train services running on the Tōkaidō and San'yō Shinkansen lines. Stopping at every station, the Kodama is the slowest Shinkansen service for trips between major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. The Kodama trains are used primarily for travel to and from smaller cities such as Atami. Travelers between major cities generally take the Nozomi or Hikari services, which make fewer stops. The name of the train comes from the Japanese word kodama, which means "echo".


Shinkansen Kodama

Kodama trains generally run over shorter distances than Nozomi and Hikari trains. Typical Kodama runs include Tokyo - Nagoya / Shin-Osaka, Tokyo - Mishima / Shizuoka / Hamamatsu, Mishima / Shizuoka / Nagoya - Shin-Osaka, and Shin-Osaka / Okayama / Hiroshima - Hakata as well as some shorter late-night runs.

The trainsets used for Kodama service are the same 700 series, and N700 series trains used for the Hikari and Nozomi services. Older 100 series and 300 series trains were also used for Kodama services on the Sanyō Shinkansen until they were withdrawn in 2012. In December 2008, reconfigured 500 series trains entered Kodama service to replace the withdrawn Sanyō Shinkansen 0 series trains. Many Sanyō Shinkansen Kodama services continue to and from Hakata-Minami on the Hakata-Minami Line.

Most Kodama trains have both reserved and non-reserved cars; however, some morning Kodama trains to Tokyo and evening trains departing Tokyo have non-reserved cars only to accommodate commuters living in Kanagawa and Shizuoka.

The newest shinkansen trainset, the N700, is currently used on some early morning and late night Kodama runs between Kokura and Hakata stations in Kyushu. All standard-class cars are non-reserved, and, as with all other N700 services, there is no smoking on these trains except in designated on-board smoking rooms.

At most intermediate stations, Kodama trains wait for faster trains, such as the Nozomi, Hikari, Sakura, and Mizuho, to pass through before resuming their journeys.

Rolling stock

Former rolling stock


  • 151 series


N700 series (16 cars)

(All cars are no smoking except for smoking compartments located in cars 3, 7, 10, and 15.)


700 series (16 cars)


500 series (eight cars)

(All cars are no smoking except for smoking compartments in cars 3 and 7.)


N700 series (eight cars)

(All cars are no smoking except for smoking compartments in cars 3 and 7.)


700 series (eight cars)

(All cars are non-smoking.)



Limited express Kodama

A preserved 181 series car (original 151 series car) JNR 181 Kodama 20080118.jpg
A preserved 181 series car (original 151 series car)

Kodama debuted as a limited express service on the Tokaido Main Line on 1 November 1958. Services used 151 series trainsets. This was the first EMU train service of the Japanese National Railways classified as a limited express, the highest (fastest) of train types on the national railway system. The train travelled between Tokyo Station and Osaka Station in six hours and 50 minutes and first enabled passengers to go and return between the two cities in one day. This is why the train was named Kodama, or echo.[ citation needed ]

A narrow gauge world speed record of 163 km/h was established by a 151 series Kodama trainset on 31 July 1959. [2] The conventional Kodama train ran until 30 September 1964, the day before Kodama debuted on the Shinkansen.[ citation needed ]

Shinkansen Kodama

The shinkansen Kodama services began on 1 October 1964, operating between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka.

On 17 March 2012, the remaining 100 series (K) sets were withdrawn from Kodama services and 700 series (8-car E set) Kodama services became entirely no-smoking. [3] Onboard trolley refreshment services were discontinued on all JR Central Kodama services from 17 March 2012. [4] Also, some of the 16-car 500 series that used to run as the Nozomi service were cut short to eight cars to run as the Kodama service.

See also

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300 Series Shinkansen Japanese high-speed train type

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  1. JR新幹線&特急列車ファイル[JR Shinkansen & Limited Express Train File]. Japan: Kōtsū Shimbun. 2008. ISBN   978-4-330-00608-6.
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlMy_aBpIhM
  3. 平成24春ダイヤ改正について [March 2012 Timetable Revision Details](PDF). News Release (in Japanese). Japan: West Japan Railway Company. 16 December 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  4. 一部列車の車内販売の取止め及び見直しについて [Discontinuation and revision of on-train sales for certain trains](PDF). News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Central Japan Railway Company. 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.[ permanent dead link ]