JR Shinkansen, differences in Futsusha & Green-sha

In accord with the informative web column on Japan Guide, 3 out of the 4 main islands of Japan are linked by a system of highly swift railway trains called the Shinkansen (新幹線), or referred as bullet trains in English. The maximum performance in which some of these trains travel, while customers are boarded, is referenced at averaging speeds of 320km/h or 200mph. The Shinkansen, like relatively all train services in Japan, are known for its timely manner (scheduled arrivals), comforting travels (in terms of travelers inside experience a generally quiet atmosphere) safety record (in its 50 years history there has not been any fatality of passengers caused by colliding accidents or by the train leaving its tracks) and for its concise productivity and/or efficiency. 

The JR Tokai's 500 series model, according to the author of the picture, was the first bullet train which reached the speed of 300km/h and its narrow body became less-imperative towards traveling users as a more wider & newer version of the Shinkansen, the 700 series, which came out with the same swiftness as its ancestral model, the 500 series. Photo by: Flickr@ykanazawa1999 

The JR Tokai's 500 series model, according to the author of the picture, was the first bullet train which reached the speed of 300km/h and its narrow body became less-imperative towards traveling users as a more wider & newer version of the Shinkansen, the 700 series, which came out with the same swiftness as its ancestral model, the 500 series. Photo by: Flickr@ykanazawa1999 

Cost-reduced Japan Rail Passes make traveling on the Shinkansen an optimum choice in terms of expenditure and for safe traveling. 

A JR pass allows one to travel on the Hikari Shinkansen, the second fastest of commercial bullet trains, as many times as one pleases throughout the designated time in which they have selected until the pass's expiration date. 

Futsusha (Ordinary Seats)

Ordinary Seats, or Futsusha in Japanese, are the common seats that exists in all operating bullet trains. These sitting areas are comparable to the seats of the economy class on commercial airplanes. Futsusha seats are ordinarily cozy offering a sufficient amount of foot space. These seats are most often provided in either reserved or non-reserved seats. All ordinary seats are arranged in sequences of 3x2 (google maps view of what a typical ordinary seats for the Tohoku Shinkansen looks like). 

The unoccupied version of an ordinary cabin (futsusha) on the JR East Shinkansen from last month. Photo by Flickr@Luke Lai 

The unoccupied version of an ordinary cabin (futsusha) on the JR East Shinkansen from last month. Photo by Flickr@Luke Lai 

Green-sha (Green Car) 

Green-sha are similar to that of the business class on commercial airplanes, and likewise provide roomier and cozier seat settings in comparison with the standard seating (futsusha).

The Green car are organized in arrays of 2x2 (glimpse of what the green-sha generally looks like on the Tohoku Shinaknsen). 

This photo, of the Hikari Shinkansen Green Car area, is from 2013 where a few total of 9 to 10 people were on board for this section and a warm steamy towel was given as the seated customers began their spacious trip. Photo by: Flickr@camknows 

This photo, of the Hikari Shinkansen Green Car area, is from 2013 where a few total of 9 to 10 people were on board for this section and a warm steamy towel was given as the seated customers began their spacious trip. Photo by: Flickr@camknows 

All of the green-sha seats are reserved. 

A newer seat setting has also been introduced by certain bullet trains called Gran Class. These carriers are established in configurations of seats with a 2x1 pattern, and are relatable to those of the first class sections of commercial airplanes. 

Shinkansen Prices

Futsusha bullet train prices, on the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen (railway line operating between Tokyo & Shin-Osaka), ranges (based on surcharges & distance of travel) at around 170 yen (from Tokyo to Shinagawa, at the distance of 6.8 km) to 11,660 yen (from Tokyo to Hiroshima, at the distance of 894.2 km) as basic fare prices (not including surcharge). 

*For Green cars an additional charge of above the price of 2,250 yen is applied on top of the cost mentioned above. 

*Note that the prices are intended for a one time travel to and from the respective locations. 

*Travelers using wheel chairs can be accommodated on most of the Shinkansens and limited express trains by contacting the station, two days before one's journey, in which one plans to board.