I’ve been lucky enough to take a few trips on Japan’s excellent Shinkansen trains. Last October, we went on a day trip from Kyoto to Hiroshima and the trips there and back were fast, comfortable and – for this train geek – exciting. I’ll admit that going all that distance (about 360km!!) and back in a single day is a bit of a mission, but the trains made it all worthwhile.
As I was taking some of these photos (and the video below), I noticed the new signs dotted around the station, warning of the dangers of the now-ubiquitous selfie-sticks. I’ve yet to hear of anyone actually getting electrocuted while taking picture next to one of these trains, but I wouldn’t be surprised if selfie-sticks contributed to a few more minor injuries along the way.
Super-fast, super-comfortable (though I confess we went First Class, in Green Carriages, using our Japan Rail passes) and incredibly efficient, the Shinkansen trains were a real highlight of the trip. Not just a means to an end.
I was going to compare the experience to other rail journeys I’ve taken, but decided there was no point. Shinkansen are head and shoulders above Eurostar between London and Paris (faster and more reliable!) and anything cross-crossing the UK. I wonder if the planned high speed routes in the UK will ever come close to this service. Somehow I doubt it.
Here’s a quick video I took in Kyoto, watching trains come and go. Arriving and departing on time, smoothly and silently moving like something from the future!