Kanji Cheat Sheet: For Taking the Shinkansen

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Riding the bullet train () is something most travelers look forward to when coming to Japan. It’s fast, punctual, and a cultural experience all rolled into one. The sheer convenience of traveling at lightning speed from one prefecture to another, all while eating a cutely decked out bento box, sets it apart from all the other kinds of trains in Japan.

For most first-timers, the bullet train ticketing system might feel a bit complicated. Sometimes require you to use two tickets instead of one and vice versa. The reservation and payment system might also be confusing if you didn’t avail of the JR Pass ahead of time. Not to mention, the tickets you’ll be purchasing don’t come with line by line English translations.

Shinkansen tickets

Ticket to ride.

As previously mentioned, there may be times where you’ll need to keep two types of tickets on you. Losing both will cost you an arm and a leg, so keep them close.

To tell the difference between the basic fare ticket and the actual bullet train ticket, look for the corresponding characters on the uppermost portion: The first ticket is called the basic fare ticket () and the second ticket is called the Super (Limited) Express ().

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