Joetsu Shinkansen

Joetsu Shinkansen: Tokyo to Niigata Bullet Train Line

Joetsu Shinkansen is a high-speed railway line in Japan. It connects Tokyo and Niigata, with a travel time of approximately 80 minutes. The line is operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and has been in service since 1982.

The Joetsu Shinkansen is a popular mode of transportation for tourists, especially during the winter season. It provides access to ski resorts and hot springs along the way.


The line features some of the most beautiful scenery in Japan, including the majestic Mount Fuji and the snow-capped Japanese Alps.

This Shinkansen line is unique because it is the only one that crosses between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan. The line also connects to the Tohoku Shinkansen, allowing passengers to travel from Tokyo to northern Japan with ease.


The Joetsu Shinkansen is a high-speed railway line in Japan that connects Tokyo and Niigata. It is operated by the East Japan Railway Company, commonly known as JR East. The Joetsu Shinkansen began operation in 1982, making it one of the oldest Shinkansen lines in Japan.

The idea for the Joetsu Shinkansen was first proposed in the 1960s as part of Japan’s plan to connect distant regions with Tokyo to aid economic growth and development. Construction of the line began in 1971 and was completed in 1982. The line covers a distance of 270.1 km and has a maximum operating speed of 240 km/h.

The Joetsu Shinkansen has undergone several upgrades and renovations over the years. In 1991, the line was extended to the city of Niigata, and in 1997, the E4 series Shinkansen trains were introduced, which reduced travel time between Tokyo and Niigata by 30 minutes. In 2012, the line celebrated its 30th anniversary with a special commemorative run.

Despite its age, the Joetsu Shinkansen remains an important transportation link between Tokyo and Niigata, providing tourists with access to hot springs, ski resorts, and other attractions in the region. The line has also played a crucial role in the economic development of the Niigata region, connecting it with the rest of Japan and helping to promote trade and commerce.

The Joetsu Shinkansen was affected by natural disasters in 2006 and was taken out of service for several months. The line was repaired and resumed operation in December 2006.

Route and Stations


The Joetsu Shinkansen is a high-speed railway line that connects Tokyo with Niigata, located on the Sea of Japan coast. The line is operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East), and it began service in 1982. The line is named after the region it serves, which is known for its heavy snowfall in winter and beautiful autumn foliage. The line runs parallel to the Shinetsu Main Line, which is a regular railway line that serves the same region.

The Line has a total length of 269.5 km, and it has 17 stations along the way. The line is served by several types of trains, including the Toki, Tanigawa, and Max Tanigawa trains. The Toki and Tanigawa trains run between Tokyo and Niigata, while the Max Tanigawa trains run between Tokyo and Echigo-Yuzawa, which is a popular ski resort town.

The following is a list of stations on the Joetsu Shinkansen line:

Station Code Location
Tokyo JY Tokyo
Ueno Taito, Tokyo
Ōmiya Ōmiya-ku, Saitama
Takasaki Takasaki, Gunma
Jōetsu-Myōkō Myōkō, Niigata
Nagaoka Nagaoka, Niigata
Tsubame-Sanjo Tsubame, Niigata
Niigata JO Niigata, Niigata

The Joetsu Shinkansen line shares tracks with the Hokuriku Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Takasaki, and with the Tohoku Shinkansen line between Takasaki and Ōmiya. The line also connects with several other railway lines at various stations, including the Yamanote Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, and Jōban Line in Tokyo, and the Shinetsu Main Line and Echigo Line in Niigata.

Safety is a top priority on the Joetsu Shinkansen line, and the trains are equipped with advanced safety features, such as automatic train control and emergency brakes. The line is also designed to withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters, and it has a dedicated maintenance team to ensure that the tracks and trains are always in top condition.

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Train Services


The Joetsu Shinkansen train service is operated by JR East and offers a comfortable and convenient ride for passengers. The train services on Joetsu Shinkansen include:

  • Toki – This is the fastest train service on the Joetsu Shinkansen line, and it runs between Tokyo and Niigata. The Toki trains are equipped with both standard and green cars, with the latter offering more spacious and comfortable seats.
  • Max Toki – This train service is a limited express train that runs between Tokyo and Niigata during peak travel periods. The Max Toki trains offer more comfortable seats and amenities than the regular Toki trains.
  • Tanigawa – Runs between Tokyo and Echigo-Yuzawa, a popular ski resort town in Niigata. The Tanigawa trains offer both standard and green cars, with the latter offering more spacious and comfortable seats.

Passengers can also enjoy various amenities on board Joetsu Shinkansen trains, including:

  • Wi-Fi – All Joetsu Shinkansen trains offer free Wi-Fi for passengers to use during their journey.
  • Food and Drink – Passengers can purchase food and drinks from the onboard vending machines or from the train attendants.
  • Luggage Storage – Each train car has overhead storage racks and luggage spaces near the entrance for passengers to store their belongings.

Future Developments

The Joetsu Shinkansen is currently undergoing upgrades to increase its maximum line speed from 240km/h to 275km/h, with construction starting in May 2019. This upgrade is expected to reduce the travel time between Tokyo and Niigata by 20 minutes.

Additionally, there are plans to extend the Joetsu Shinkansen to Sado Island, a popular tourist destination located off the coast of Niigata Prefecture. The proposed extension would involve building a bridge or tunnel to connect the island to the mainland. However, this project is still in the planning stages and no construction has yet begun.

Another potential development for the Joetsu Shinkansen is the introduction of a new type of train known as the “Supreme.” This train is being developed by JR East and is expected to have a maximum speed of 360km/h, making it one of the fastest trains in the world. It is also expected to have improved comfort and amenities compared to existing Shinkansen trains.

Finally, there are ongoing discussions about the possibility of extending the Joetsu Shinkansen to the city of Kanazawa, which is currently served by the Hokuriku Shinkansen. This would create a direct rail link between Tokyo and Kanazawa, two popular tourist destinations. However, this project is still in the planning stages and no construction has yet begun.