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Joetsu Shinkansen Train

© East Japan Railways Company

A product of the East Japan Railway Company, the Joetsu Shinkansen is a type of Japanese high-speed train often referred to as a bullet train. The JR East-operated Joetsu was first introduced in 1982 and is used to link Tokyo, the nation’s capital, with Niigata, capital city of Niigata Prefecture.

There are currently two kinds of Joetsu Shinkansen trains serving the Tokyo to Niigata route: the E2 Series and E4 Series. Both models have a top operating speed of 240kms per hour. Most Joetsu trains feature two passenger seating classes: the “Ordinary Car” (basically a standard class coach) and the “Green Car” (similar to first or business class).

The Joetsu Shinkansen line covers a distance of approximately 270 kilometres between Tokyo and Niigata, making brief stops in such cities as Omiya-ku, Yuzawa and Nagaoka.

When you purchase a JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) e-ticket, you get unlimited travel by Joetsu Shinkansen between Tokyo and the central area of Honshu, Japan’s main island. This pass also includes travel in select regions of the Tohoku, Yamagata, and Hokuriku Shinkansen lines. Purchase a JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) to include travel via Akita Shinkansen in Japan’s northeastern region. Passes can be used for 5 flexible travel days over a 14-day period.

Get your pass to exceptional value and flexibility as you plan your journey throughout the heart of Japan!

Why choose travel on Joetsu Shinkansen trains?
Types of Joetsu Shinkansen trains

E2 Series

  • First introduced: 1997
  • Maximum operating speed: 240km/h
  • Layout: 10-car trains

E2 Series

  • First introduced: 1997
  • Maximum operating speed: 240km/h
  • Layout: 8-car trains
Train services and amenities
  • Spacious, comfortable seats capable of swiveling 180 degrees
  • 3x2 row seat layout in Ordinary Class; 2x2 row seat layout in Green Car Class
  • Signs and announcements in multiple languages
  • Catering services onboard including food carts with snacks, drinks and meals plus vending machines
  • Multiple-toilet washroom facilities
  • Most trains are non-smoking
Route itinerary

From: Tokyo to Niigata
Train stations: Tokyo and Niigata
Popular stops: Omiya-ku, Takasaki, Yuzawa, Nagaoka
Estimated travel time: 2h00
Travel included with a: JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)


Passengers are allowed two pieces of luggage, up to a maximum weight of 60 kg and having total dimensions measuring no more than 250 cm (based on height, length and width). Delivery services are available.


Bicycles are permitted at no extra cost but must be folded or disassembled and packed inside carrying cases.


Small pets including dogs, cats and birds are allowed onboard. However, they must travel in a cage or similar container no bigger than 90 cm (based on height and length) and must weigh less than 10 kg.


Passengers in wheelchairs have access to special seating on the train but must make a request at the station they are boarding from 2 days in advance. Wheelchairs must conform to maximum size requirements and those with steering wheels are generally not allowed. Elevators and escalators at stations are wheelchair-friendly. Strollers can be carried onboard at no extra charge, as long as they are folded and placed either in front of the seat or in the designated luggage compartment.

Rail passes for travel on Joetsu Shinkansen trains in Japan
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