Japan by Bullet Train
More commonly known as the bullet train, Japan’s Shinkansen rail network first wowed the world at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, pioneering the way for high-speed travel.
Whether you want to tour the country by rail, nip off for a weekend in the mountains or simply experience the hustle and bustle of Shinjuku Station (which is believed to host a staggering three million people every day), the bullet train forms a vital part of any Japan itinerary. With a complex network of lines linking the very north of the country to the very south, the bullet train has become the reliable backbone of Japan, joining the rural to the cosmopolitan in the blink of an eye.
While train travel has a reputation for maintaining a leisurely pace, the bullet train offers routes across Japan with blistering speed and soundless stealth. Snaking its way across Honshu, the largest island in the Japanese archipelago, the bullet train rattles up and down the country at a staggering speed of up to 200 miles per hour. As synonymous with the Land of the Rising Sun as Mount Fuji, sumo, or sushi, the bullet train is arguably the only way to travel in Japan and attracts visitors from far and wide.
Japan is known as a country of binaries, and the bullet train is a fantastic way to see its contrasts. Starting in Tokyo’s Shinjuku station, which is believed to be the busiest in the world, the spectacle begins before you’ve even set off. Sitting at one of the station’s ramen stands and soaking up the buzz of the station guarantees an incredible snapshot into daily life in Japan. From Tokyo, head west across the Japanese Alps to Kanazawa, only a two-hour train ride away yet a journey back thousands of years. From here, you can either jump on the train to Hiroshima for a harrowing insight into Japan’s history or make a beeline straight to Kyoto, the cultural heartland of the country.
How Easy Is It To Use the Bullet Train?
As one of the most dependable rail services in the world, the bullet train is easy and efficient to use.
You needn’t worry about missed trains, lost luggage, or finding your platform. Navigating your way around the stations couldn’t be easier with the signs clearly labelled in English and platforms directly noted on your train ticket. Leave the logistics to us and sit back, relax and watch the blur of the outside world whoosh past your window.
What’s It Like on Board?
Even in standard class, cars are roomy, clean, and quite comfortable! However, for a premium experience, opt for an upgrade to a Green Car, which affords you a larger seat that can recline up to 40°, as well as an integrated radio set and a travel magazine.
What Should I Do With My Luggage?
On the bullet train, there are overhead racks that will fit medium-sized suitcases. However, if you have a lot of luggage or would simply rather not carry it yourself, you have the option of an overnight courier service. This is a widely used service throughout Japan and means your luggage will be transported from one destination to another, without you having to take it on the train. This service is very reliable and hassle-free, however, please note that it does take 24 hours for your luggage to be delivered.
Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima & Hakone
Japan is one of the most fascinating destinations in Asia and this classic itinerary is perfect for those wanting to experience the delightful diversity of the country, with stops at the main highlights of Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Hakone.
GBP £8,200 pp
Osaka, Kyoto, Takayama & Tokyo
Dive straight into the buzz and throng of life in Japan with this epic and immersive trip. Staying in the very best spots for cultural highlights, unique diversity and culinary delights, you'll venture through the country led by your taste buds. Experience an array of regional cuisines alongside mesmerising scenery and exciting nightlife.
GBP £10,400 pp
Family Fun in Japan
Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa & Kyoto
Designed to appeal to adults and children alike, this awesome Japan tour takes in the neon-lit metropolis of Tokyo, with its distinctive cultural traditions of kawaii (cute), anime and cosplay. Then go cycling in the Japanese Alps, stay in a traditional ryokan inn and learn how to cook like a local in Kyoto.
GBP £5,900 pp
Japan with Kids
Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto
An action-packed adventure for all the family, experience Japan’s highlights during a school break or combined with a Southeast Asian beach trip. Experience iconic pop culture in Tokyo, marvel at the natural beauty of rural Hakone and Mount Fuji, then ride the bullet train to Kyoto, laden with Japan’s rich geisha, samurai and ninja heritage.
GBP £5,900 pp
Tokyo, Kiso Valley, Kyoto, Miyajimaguchi & Lake Kawaguchi (Mount Fuji)
Japan is often praised for its rich culture and history while its natural wonder goes overlooked. Take in a different side of Japan by exploring the Nakasendo Walking Trail, an ancient postal route that winds through wild forests. You'll also experience the country's most inspiring cities and the beautiful surrounds of Miyajima and Lake Kawaguchi.
GBP £8,400 pp
Tokyo, Yamashiro Onsen, Kyoto, Ise Peninsula
Ignite the senses as you take an awe-inspiring tour through Japan in limitless luxury, enjoying the eclectic mix of madcap modernity and tranquil tradition. Slip between skyscrapers, savour sake, and be stunned by samurai. Headquarter at some of the most exclusive hotels and native ryokans while enjoying unparalleled service and delectable cuisine.
Japan in Spring - Cherry Blossom Season
Tokyo, Kanazawa, Miyajima, Kyoto & Hakone
Explore and marvel during Sakura season, when beautiful cherry blossom blankets the country. Taking you throughout the island of Honshu, visit Japan in spring to see a nation in full bloom. The unfolding beauty continues through Hakone National Park and Miyajima Island, two of the best and most picturesque places to see Japan’s famed blossom.
GBP £13,800 pp
Taste of Japan
Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Osaka
Savour the chance to tour Japan through world-class cuisine on this food-focused trip. Awarded heritage status by UNESCO, Japanese food is an art form and integral to the country’s culture. Experience the rituals and exquisite aesthetic of kaiseki dining, enjoy a private sushi masterclass, delight in the street food, and sip smooth sake.
GBP £8,300 pp