What to expect from a shinkansen ride

Train transport in Japan is known for being efficient, on time, clean - and in the case of shinkansens, super speedy. Here are a few quick observations I made from a Shinkansen trip I took last week so you know a bit more about what to expect if it’s your first time riding one.

Some shinkansen are "double decker" shinkansen

When you hop into your carriage, if you have an unreserved seat you'll be able to either sit on the top or the bottom level (provided there are spots available for you). If you want a view, then pick the top level - the bottom part is usually covered by the tracks and barriers when you're at speed, so you don't get to see much of anything at that point (speaking from experience).

Your seat is going to have a bunch of brochures just like you'd get on an airline...

You know all the quirky products you can find in those Skymall magazines that they have on planes - the kind where you wonder to yourself "who actually buys that stuff?"

Well, they have those on the Shinkansen, too.
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If you had ever thought about how to incorporate your quilt into an actual piece of clothing, then wonder no more. The Train Shop magazine has all manner of weird, wacky and wonderful things to buy if you really wanted to.

On most normal trains in Japan it's frowned upon to eat and drink - but not so on the shinkansen!

Shinkansens actually have menus, and staff come down the aisles with carts full of snacks and drinks you can purchase. It feels a bit like an airline in that sense!
From small snacks and coffee to full bento box meals, eating and drinking on the Shinkansen is A-OK!

Speaking of airlines, the inside of the Shinkansen carriages does look a bit like an airplane cabin

Minus the turbulence! Rows of seats, tray tables, overhead luggage storage - it even feels a bit like a plane zooming down the runway to take off when you’re on the train and it’s at full speed!
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Consideration for others is still key!

Shinkansen are often filled with not just travelers, but plenty of business people headed to work. I had to chuckle when I noticed this little sign on the seat back, asking you to be considerate of other passengers with your keyboard noise!
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If you’ve got some Shinkansen trips planned during your vacation to Japan I hope you enjoy them  - it’s truly an experience in itself and one of the best ways to travel around this country.

Enjoy Japan and Safe Travels!

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