Tokaido Shinkansen

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Tokaido Shinkansen
Shinkansen jrc.svg
A JR Central N700S Series train running Tokaido Shinkansen, September 2021
Native name東海道新幹線
Owner JR logo (central).svg JR Central
Locale Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, Shiga, Kyoto, and Osaka Prefectures
Termini Tokyo
Type Shinkansen
Operator(s) JR logo (central).svg JR Central
Depot(s)Tokyo, Mishima, Nagoya, Osaka
Rolling stockN700A series
N700S series
OpenedOctober 1, 1964
Line length515.4 km (320.3 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 25 kV AC, 60 Hz, overhead catenary
Operating speed285 km/h (177 mph)
Route map

Tokaido Shinkansen map.png

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(Arrow Blue Up 001.svg  Tōhoku Shinkansen)
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0:00 Tokyo
Tokyo Metro logo.svg
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0:07 Shinagawa
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Tama River
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0:18 Shin-Yokohama
Yokohama Municipal Subway Logo.svg
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Sagami River
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0:35 Odawara
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0:44 Atami
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0:54 Mishima
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1:08 Shin-Fuji
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Fuji River
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1:08 Shizuoka
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Abe River
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Ooi River
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1:39 Kakegawa
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Tenryū River
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1:34 Hamamatsu
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Lake Hamana
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1:24 Toyohashi
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1:30 Mikawa-Anjō
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1:35 Nagoya
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1:59 Gifu-Hashima
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2:18 Maibara
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2:09 Kyōto
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2:24 Shin-Ōsaka
Osaka Metro logo 2.svg
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(Arrow Blue Down 001.svg  San'yō Shinkansen)

Times shown are fastest timetabled journey from Tokyo (HH:MM).


The Tokaido Shinkansen (Japanese: 東海道新幹線, Hepburn: Tōkaidō Shinkansen, lit.'East Sea Route New Trunk Line') is a Japanese high-speed rail line that is part of the nationwide Shinkansen network. Along with the Sanyo Shinkansen, it forms a continuous high-speed railway through the Taiheiyō Belt, also known as the Tokaido corridor. Upon its opening in 1964 between Tokyo and Shin-Ōsaka, it was heralded as the first high-speed rail line in the world. [1] Since 1987 it has been operated by the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), prior to that by Japanese National Railways (JNR). Besides being the oldest HSR line, it is also one of the most heavily used. [2] [3]

There are three types of services on the line: from fastest to slowest, they are the limited-stop Nozomi , the semi-fast Hikari , and the all-stop Kodama . Many Nozomi and Hikari trains continue onward to the San'yō Shinkansen, going as far as Fukuoka's Hakata Station.

The line was named a joint Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark and IEEE Milestone by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 2000. [4] [5]


The predecessor for the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines was originally conceived at the end of the 1930s as a standard-gauge dangan ressha (bullet train) between Tokyo and Shimonoseki, which would have taken nine hours to cover the nearly 1,000 kilometer distance between the two cities. This project was planned as the first part of an East Asian rail network serving Japan's overseas territories. The beginning of World War II stalled the project in its early planning stages, although three tunnels were dug that were later used in the Shinkansen route. [6]

By 1955, the original Tokaido line between Tokyo and Osaka was congested. Even after its electrification the next year, the line was still the busiest in Japan's railway network by a long margin, with demand being around double the then capacity. [7] In 1957, a public forum was organized to discuss “The Possibility of a Three-hour Rail Trip Between Tokyo and Osaka.” [6] After substantial debate, the Japanese National Railways (JNR) decided to build a new standard gauge line alongside the original narrow gauge one to supplement it. [8] The president of JNR at the time, Shinji Sogō, started attempting to persuade politicians to back the project. Realizing the high expenses of the project early on due to the use of new, unfamiliar technologies and the high concentration of tunnels and viaducts, Sogō settled for less government funding than what was needed. [6] [9]

The Diet approved the plan in December 1958, agreeing to fund ¥194.8 billion out of the ¥300 billion required over a five-year construction period. Then-finance minister Eisaku Satō recommended that the rest of the funds should be taken from non-governmental sources so that political changes would not cause funding issues. [9] Construction of the line began on 20 April 1959 under Sogō and chief engineer Hideo Shima. In 1960, Shima and Sogō were sent to the United States to borrow money from the World Bank. Although the original request was for US$200 million, they came back with only $80 million, enough to fund 15% of the project, and could not use the loan for "experimental technology". [6] [10] Severe cost overruns during construction forced both of them to resign. [11] The opening was timed to coincide with the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which had already brought international attention to the country. Originally, the line was called the New Tokaido Line in English. Just like the original railway line, it is named after the Tokaido road that has been used for centuries.

Initially, there were two services: the faster Hikari (also called the Super Express) made the journey between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka in four hours, while the slower Kodama (or the limited express) made more stops and took five hours to travel the same route. [12] A test run was conducted August 25, 1964, simulating a Hikari service. The run, which was deemed "very successful" by then-JNR president Reisuke Ishida, was also broadcast on television by NHK. [13] On October 1 that same year, the line was officially opened, with the first train, Hikari 1, traveling from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka with a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph). [14] In November 1965, both services were sped up by an hour to achieve their current times of 3 hours for the Hikari and 4 hours for the Kodama. [15]

In 1988, one year after the privatization of JNR, the new operating company, JR Central, initiated a project to increase operating speeds through infrastructure improvement and a new train design. This resulted in the debut of the 300 Series and the Nozomi, the line's fastest service which took two and a half hours to traverse the route with a top speed of 270 km/h (170 mph), on March 14, 1992. [16] [17] [18]

A new Shinkansen stop at Shinagawa Station opened in October 2003, accompanied by a major timetable change which increased the number of daily Nozomi services. [19] Initially, certain Nozomi and Hikari services did not stop at the station, with some skipping either Shinagawa or Shin-Yokohama, and the plurality of services stopping at both. From March 2008 onward, all services stop at both stations. [20] [21] Another station was planned to open in 2012 to serve Rittō, a city between Maibara and Kyoto. Construction started in May 2006, but the project was cancelled the next year due to political opposition from the government of the surrounding Shiga Prefecture and the Supreme Court of Japan ruling the ¥4.35 billion bond that the city had issued to fund construction was illegal and had to be cancelled. [22]

The next speedup, which raised the top speed to its current 285 km/h (177 mph) through the use of improved braking technology, was announced in 2014 and introduced on March 14, 2015, the 23rd anniversary of the last speed raise. [23] [24] Initially, just one service per hour would run at this new speed. [25] After the replacement of the older, slower 700 series with the N700 series in March 2020, a new timetable taking advantage of the speed increase with more services was planned. [26] [27] However, the COVID-19 pandemic further delayed these plans as service was temporarily cut. [28]

Stations and service patterns

Map of Tokaido Shinkansen Tokaido Shinkansen map.png
Map of Tokaidō Shinkansen
Mt. Fuji and the Tokaido Shinkansen Series-N700a-Mt.Fuji.jpg
Mt. Fuji and the Tokaido Shinkansen
Mt. Ibuki and the Tokaido Shinkansen MtIbuki01.jpg
Mt. Ibuki and the Tokaido Shinkansen
Map all coordinatesin "Category:Tōkaidō_Shinkansen" using: OpenStreetMap  
Download coordinates as: KML


All trains stop
All trains pass
Some trains stop
StationDistance (km)ServiceTransfersLocation
EnglishJapanese Nozomi Hikari Kodama
Tokyo 東京0.0 Chiyoda Tokyo
Shinagawa 品川6.8
  • JY Yamanote Line (JY25)
  • JK Keihin-Tōhoku Line (JK20)
  • JT Tōkaidō Main Line (JT03)
  • JO Yokosuka Line (JO17)
  • Number prefix Keikyu.PNG Keikyū Main Line (KK01)
Shin-Yokohama 新横浜25.5 Kōhoku-ku, Yokohama Kanagawa Prefecture
Odawara 小田原76.7
Atami 熱海95.4
  • JT JR Central Tokaido Line.svg Tōkaidō Main Line (JT21,CA00)
  • JT Itō Line (JT21)
Atami Shizuoka Prefecture
Mishima 三島111.3
  • JR Central Tokaido Line.svg Tōkaidō Main Line (CA02)
  • Izuhakone Railway Sunzu Line (IS01)
Shin-Fuji 新富士135.0  Fuji
Shizuoka 静岡167.4
Aoi-ku, Shizuoka
Kakegawa 掛川211.3
Hamamatsu 浜松238.9
Naka-ku, Hamamatsu
Toyohashi 豊橋274.2
Toyohashi Aichi Prefecture
Mikawa-Anjō 三河安城312.8 JR Central Tokaido Line.svg Tōkaidō Main Line (CA55) Anjō
Nagoya 名古屋342.0
Nakamura-ku, Nagoya
Gifu-Hashima 岐阜羽島367.1  TH   Meitetsu Hashima Line (Shin-Hashima Station,TH09) Hashima Gifu Prefecture
Maibara 米原408.2
Maibara Shiga Prefecture
Kyōto 京都476.3
Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto Kyoto Prefecture
Shin-Ōsaka 新大阪515.4
Yodogawa-ku, Osaka Osaka Prefecture
Through services towards Hakata via the Sanyo Shinkansen

Rolling stock

The last services operated by 700 series sets took place on March 1, 2020, after which all Tokaido Shinkansen services are scheduled to be operated by N700A series or N700A series sets. [30] N700S series sets were then introduced on Tokaido Shinkansen services from July 1, 2020.

Former rolling stock

Non-revenue-earning types


0 series
100 series
300 series
500 series
700 series
N700/N700A series
N700A series
N700S series
Rolling stock transitions

Classes and Onboard Services

All Tokaido Shinkansen trains feature two classes. Green Cars (First Class) offer comfortable 2+2 configured seating in all reserved carriages. Ordinary Car features 2+3 configured seating in both reserved and unreserved carriages. Note that a reservation is required for large luggage on Tokaido Shinkansen trains. On all Shinkansen services vending machines with a limited offering of snacks and drinks are available in certain carriages and a trolley service, offering a more extensive but still limited selection, passes through each car a number of times on each journey. It is common practice in Japan to purchase food prior to boarding trains. Almost all stations sell Bento Boxes (complete meals conveniently boxed) for consumption onboard trains. [31]

Note that as of 2019, reservations are required to take large pieces of luggage on Tokaido Shinkansen trains. [32]

Japan Rail Pass

The Japan Rail Pass is a popular option for foreign visitors to Japan, offering an "all you can eat" train travel experience. Japan Rail Passes are valid on all the three services, except Nozomi trains. Hikari trains are identical to Nozomi services other than for their stopping patterns (both operate at the same speed on the mainline - Hikari trains stop at additional stations en-route extending journey times). [33]


From 1964 to 2012, the Tokaido Shinkansen line alone carried some 5.3 billion passengers. [3] Ridership increased from 61,000 per day in 1964 [34] to 391,000 per day in 2012. [3] By 2016, the route was carrying 452,000 passengers per day on 365 daily services making it one of the busiest high speed lines in the world. [35]

Tokaido Line Cumulative Ridership figures (millions of passengers)
Year196719762004Mar 2007Nov 20102012
Ridership (Cumulative)1001,0004,160 [36] 4,500 [37] 4,900 [2] 5,300 [3]
Tokaido Line Ridership figures (per year, millions of passengers)
Year1967April 1987April 2007April 2008April 2009April 2010April 2011April 2012
Ridership22 [34] 102 [34] 151 [34] 149 [34] 138 [34] 141 [34] 149 [34] 143 [3]

Future developments

It was announced in June 2010 that a new shinkansen station in Samukawa, Kanagawa Prefecture was under consideration by JR Central. If constructed, the station would open after the new maglev service begins operations. [38]

Shizuoka Prefecture has long lobbied JR Central for the construction of a station at Shizuoka Airport, which the line passes directly beneath. The railway has so far refused, citing the close distance to the neighbouring Shin-Fuji and Shizuoka stations. If constructed, travel time from the center of Tokyo to the airport would be comparable to that for Tokyo Narita Airport, enabling it to act as a third hub airport for the capital. [39] As the station would be built underneath an active airport, it is expected to open after the new maglev line. [40]

Related Research Articles

Shinkansen Japanese high-speed rail system

The Shinkansen, colloquially known in English as the bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan. Initially, it was built to connect distant Japanese regions with Tokyo, the capital, to aid economic growth and development. Beyond long-distance travel, some sections around the largest metropolitan areas are used as a commuter rail network. It is operated by five Japan Railways Group companies.

<i>Nozomi</i> (train)

Nozomi is the fastest train service running on the Tokaido & San'yō Shinkansen lines in Japan. The service stops at only the largest stations, and along the stretch between Shin-Ōsaka and Hakata, Nozomi services using N700 series equipment reach speeds of 300 km/h (186 mph). The trip between Tokyo and Osaka, a distance of 515 kilometres (320 mi), takes 2 hours 21 minutes on the fastest Nozomi service.

0 Series Shinkansen Japanese high-speed train type

The 0 series trains were the first generation Shinkansen trainsets built to run on Japan's new Tōkaidō Shinkansen high-speed line which opened in Japan in 1964. The last remaining trainsets were withdrawn in 2008.

100 Series Shinkansen Japanese high-speed train type

The 100 series was a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train type which operated between 1985 and 2012 on the Tokaido Shinkansen and Sanyo Shinkansen high-speed lines. They were introduced after the 200 series trains, but their numbering is such because in the days of Japanese National Railways (JNR), Shinkansen types running east of Tokyo were given even numbers and those west of Tokyo odd numbers, hence they were given the next odd number in line after 0, 100. The last remaining examples of the type were withdrawn from service following the last runs on 16 March 2012.

300 Series Shinkansen Japanese high-speed train type

The 300 series was a Japanese high-speed Shinkansen train type, with a top operational speed of 270 km/h, which operated on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines in Japan between 1992 and 2012. When first introduced, they were used on the fastest Nozomi services, being capable of 270 km/h (170 mph). As more were delivered they replaced earlier units on Hikari service and allowed the thus displaced 100 series units to finally in turn displace 0 series units on almost all services.

500 Series Shinkansen Japanese high speed train type

The 500 series is a Shinkansen high-speed train type operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR-West) on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen and San'yō Shinkansen lines in Japan since 1997. They were designed to be capable of 320 km/h (200 mph) but operated at 300 km/h (185 mph), until they were finally retired from the primary Nozomi service in 2010. The trainsets were then refurbished and downgraded to the all-stations Kodama service between Shin-Ōsaka and Hakata.

700 Series Shinkansen Japanese high speed train type

The 700 series is a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train type built between 1997 and 2006, and entering service in 1999. Originally designated as "N300" during the development phase, they formed the next generation of shinkansen vehicles jointly designed by JR Central and JR-West for use on the Tokaido Shinkansen, Hakata Minami Line and the San'yō Shinkansen. Though it has since been withdrawn from service on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, it still operates on the San'yō Shinkansen and Hakata Minami Line.

Central Japan Railway Company Japanese railway company

The Central Japan Railway Company is the main railway company operating in the Chūbu (Nagoya) region of central Japan. It is officially abbreviated in English as JR Central and in Japanese as JR Tōkai. Tōkai is a reference to the geographical region in which the company chiefly operates.

<i>Hikari</i> (train) Shinkansen service

Hikari is the name of a high-speed train service running on the Tokaido and San'yō Shinkansen "bullet train" lines in Japan. Slower than the premier Nozomi but faster than the all-stations Kodama, the Hikari is the fastest train service on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen that can be used with the Japan Rail Pass, which is not valid for travel on the Nozomi or Mizuho trains.

<i>Kodama</i> (train) One of the three train services running on the Tōkaidō/Sanyō Shinkansen

Kodama 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".

Kyushu Shinkansen

The Kyushu Shinkansen is a Japanese high-speed railway line between the cities of Fukuoka and Kagoshima in Kyushu, running parallel to the existing Kagoshima Main Line and operated by JR Kyushu. It is an extension of the San'yō Shinkansen from Honshu. The southern 127 km (79 mi) was constructed first because the equivalent section of the former Kagoshima Main Line is single track, and thus a significant improvement in transit time was gained when this dual track section opened on 13 March 2004, despite the need for passengers to change to a Relay Tsubame narrow gauge train at Shin-Yatsushiro for the remainder of the journey to Hakata. The northern 130 km (81 mi) section opened on 12 March 2011, enabling through-services to Shin-Osaka.

<i>Tsubame</i> (train)

The Tsubame (つばめ) is a train service operated by Kyushu Railway Company on the Kyushu Shinkansen in Japan since 2004.

Chūō Shinkansen Maglev high-speed train line under construction in Japan

The Chuo Shinkansen is a Japanese maglev line under construction between Tokyo and Nagoya, with plans for extension to Osaka. Its initial section is between Shinagawa Station in Tokyo and Nagoya Station in Nagoya, with stations in Sagamihara, Kōfu, Iida and Nakatsugawa. The line is expected to connect Tokyo and Nagoya in 40 minutes, as well as eventually Tokyo and Osaka in 67 minutes, running at a maximum speed of 505 km/h (314 mph). About 90% of the 286-kilometer (178 mi) line to Nagoya will be tunnels.

Hokuriku Shinkansen High-speed railway line in Japan between Tokyo and Kanazawa

The Hokuriku Shinkansen (北陸新幹線) is a high-speed Shinkansen railway line jointly operated by East Japan Railway Company and West Japan Railway Company, connecting Tokyo with Kanazawa in the Hokuriku region of Japan. The first section, between Takasaki and Nagano in Nagano Prefecture, opened on 1 October 1997, originally called the Nagano Shinkansen (長野新幹線). The extension to Toyama in Toyama Prefecture and Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture opened on 14 March 2015. Construction of a further section onward to Fukui and Tsuruga in Fukui Prefecture commenced in 2012, with scheduled opening in fiscal 2022. The route of the final section to Shin-Osaka was decided on 20 December 2016 as the Osaka–Kyoto route, with construction expected to begin in 2030 and take 15 years.

N700 Series Shinkansen Japanese high speed train type

The N700 series is a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train with tilting capability developed jointly by JR Central and JR West for use on the Tokaido and San'yō Shinkansen lines since 2007, and also operated by JR Kyushu on the Kyushu Shinkansen line.

Sakura (train)

The Sakura is a high-speed shinkansen service operated between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chūō in Japan since 12 March 2011.

Class 951 Shinkansen Experimental Japanese shinkansen train

The Class 951 (951形) was an experimental Japanese Shinkansen train built to test the technology for future high-speed trains operating at speeds of up to 250 km/h (155 mph) following the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen in 1964.

Mizuho (train)

The Mizuho (みずほ) is a limited-stop shinkansen service operated between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo in Japan since 12 March 2011, following the completion of the Kyushu Shinkansen. The name was formerly used for a limited express sleeping car service operated by JNR from 1961, which ran from Tokyo to Kumamoto, and was discontinued in December 1994. The name "mizuho (瑞穂)" literally means "abundant rice" in Japanese and "harvest" in the figurative sense. It was also an ancient name of Japan.

Sanyō Shinkansen Shinkansen (high-speed railway) line between Osaka and Fukuoka

The San'yō Shinkansen (山陽新幹線) is a line of the Japanese Shinkansen high-speed rail network, connecting Shin-Osaka in Osaka with Hakata Station in Fukuoka, the two largest cities in western Japan. Operated by the West Japan Railway Company, it is a westward continuation of the Tōkaidō Shinkansen and also serves other major cities in between on Honshu and Kyushu islands such as Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Kitakyushu. The Kyushu Shinkansen continues south of Hakata to Kagoshima. The San'yō Shinkansen connects Hakata with Osaka in two and a half hours, with trains operating at a maximum operating speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) for most of the journey Some Nozomi trains operate continuously on San'yō and Tōkaidō Shinkansen lines, connecting Tokyo and Hakata in five hours.

N700S Series Shinkansen Japanese high speed train type

The N700S series is a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train with tilting capability operated by JR Central and JR West on the Tokaido and San'yō Shinkansen lines since 2020, and also planned to be operated by JR Kyushu on the Nagasaki Shinkansen line.


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