Review: Japan Bullet Train Shinkansen Green Car From Tokyo to Kyoto & Osaka
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This is my second time on a Shinkansen (bullet train) in Japan between Tokyo and Osaka. I had the opportunity to experience the Green Car, this time traveling on the bullet train.
The Green Car is called Business Class on the train, but not First Class (Grand Class). The Gran Class is not offered on the Shinkansen between Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. So the highest class is the Green Car for this specific route, which offers quieter and more legroom than Ordinary (non-green) Cars.
Before I go into details on the review, I want to address whether the Green Car on Shinkansen is worth it.
Shinkansen Green Car
Japan is known for attention to detail, and you can expect good quality and comfort from business establishments, including the Bullet Train Shinkansen. That said, the ordinary cars on the Shinkansen offer good comfort and ample legroom to travel between Tokyo and Kyoto, including Osaka. However, you will want the Green Car if you want more private and quieter cars on the Shinkansen.
The Shinkansen Green Car price is higher than the Ordinary Car. However, in my honest opinion, it is well worth it if you are searching for a much more comfortable larger seat, better legroom space, and especially a less crowded car to relax in and enjoy the train journey. Therefore, Shinkansen Green Car is worth it if you can afford the upgrade. See my full review below.
Check-In and Boarding
Bullet Train Shinkansen
You don’t need to check in.
At Tokyo Station, you insert your Japan Rail Pass or ticket at the entrance gate machine and then look for Shinkansen signs.
Follow the sign to find your track numbers.
Next, the JR Shinkansen is Tokaido line, so follow that sign, and you’ll need to insert your pass or ticket again to go through the entrance machine for the Tokaido trains. There will be staff members there that can assist you.
Tokyo Station is very busy and can be overwhelming. So don’t be afraid to ask for directions and which track number. Plan to be there as early as you can. It’s better to be early than sorry, and once you locate your platform, simply go there and wait for the train.
Shinkansen Green Car Seat Amenities
The configuration of the Shinkansen on the Tokaido line, such as the Hiraki Shinkansen that I was taking is a 2-2 configuration.
Each seat comes with the following features:
Two tray tables: one on the back seat in front of your seat and one small one on the armrest. Both trays have a cup holder.
A power plug-in
Lights and massage buttons, but the massaging feature doesn’t seem to work well.
Reclining seat controller
Disposable wet towels are provided after the train leaves the station
A coat or bag hanger by the window seat
There’s no bar or dining car like you saw In Brad Pitt’s “Shinkansen” movie 🙂
Footrest & Tray Table
Lights & Power Outlet
Coat or Bag Hanger
Green Car Seats
Seats in the Green Cars are called the Business Class on the Shinkansen train. They are large and spacious with good legroom but don’t expect anything luxurious. It is comfortable, and each Green Car is quieter than the Ordinary Car.
The seat can be reclined. The angle reclining space is pretty good, and the windows are large enough to enjoy the view outside.
You can reserve Green Car seats in advance online and pick up your seat tickets at the station. Some people suggested that you don’t have to get the seat tickets and simply show the email if you are asked for it. I agree with that because I never got asked once by the train staff to check and verify my seat ticket.
Which Side to Sit On?
If you want to see Mt Fuji, sit on the right side going from Tokyo to Osaka or Kyoto, and sit on the left on a reverse route. Use Google Maps to show the exact location so you don’t miss seeing Mt. Fuji on the fast train.
Front Or Back Seats
I don’t think it matters much. The seats are closer to the doors, either on the front or back. So if that bothers you, don’t choose them. All seats are good, and if you have front seats, then you have no one before you to recline their seats.
Front Seats Closer to the Door
If you are prone to motion sickness, consider taking some medicine before. It can be a bit of a motion while on the train because Japan’s bullet train is one of the fastest trains in the world.
Blankets are provided and can be retrieved from the top shelf where bags are stowed.
Food and Drinks
Unfortunately, being in the Green Car doesn’t mean you get free food and drinks.
A vendor cart on the train is available for purchases such as drinks, coffee, tea, sodas, sandwiches, Ekiben (bento box), ice cream, chips, etc.
Food & Drinks Cart For Purchase
Speaking of Ekiben, it’s a bento box food you can buy at the Tokyo Station. You are allowed to bring food and drinks on the train, and that’s what I did because it has more options to choose from.
Ekiben, the train’s bento box. There are stores inside the Tokyo Station that sell those boxes you can purchase and take with you to eat on the train. There are many choices, but the most famous one inside the Tokyo Station is Ekibenya Matsuri. For a list of recommended Ekiben, go to the Japan Guide website.
The Ekiben food is mediocre and cold by the time you are on the train to eat. If you prefer hot, look for the ones with string. They cost a bit more, but the food gets warm when the string is pulled out. Don’t ask me the science behind it!
Ekiben Bento Box
The crew service hospitality is kind and courteous. Each time they go through each car, they bow down, and that’s something else!
You can stow your bag on the top shelf if they are not oversized bags. Basically, if you have the plane carrying on size, you are good!
There’s a free Wi-Fi on the train you can connect to called Shinkansen free Wi-Fi. You have to register with your email address to connect, but it’s not a full registration; just put your email and click verify link in the email, and you are done.
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