Shinkansen is a Japanese high-tech bullet train that belongs to world's fastest trains. Shinkansen was first introduced from 1964 with Tokaido Shinkansen. Now there are up to six lines: Tokaido Shinkansen, Sanyo Shinkansen, Tohoku Shinkansen, Joetsu Shinkansen, Hokuriku Shinkansen (Nagano Shinkansen) and Kyushu Shinkansen. All shinkansen are operated by JR (either by two main companies, JR East or JR West). Shinkansen can travel over 300 km/hour and is almost perfectly silent inside the train. Test run speeds have exceeded over 400 km/h and magnetic levitation trains over 500 km/h.
There has been a severe competition between airlines and JR recently. When the cost is almost the same, Shinkansen will take you to the center of the city in almost same time. It saves a lot of time and some money too as you dont need to take a bus from the distant airport to the city.
Also shinkansen has a safety record that no airline can beat - no fatal injury has occurred. Only injuries that have occurred are due to closing doors. In the event of an earthquake, there is earthquake detection system that will bring the train to a full stop very quickly. There are train personnel that make sure that everyone is safely inside and doors are closed before train leaves.
One-way to Nagoya will cost you 10 580 yen, same as to Sendai. and will take approx 1 hour 40 minutes. However in long distance trips such as from Tokyo to Hakata, the cost gets higher as well as taking longer time. Green cars are equivalent to first class cars.
Foreigners should consider buying JR Rail Pass as it allows usage of Shinkansen trains.
Despite Shinkansen ride being very smooth and quiet, some complain illness due to fast passing scenery and some carriage movement.
Shinkansen trains will become faster in the future. Now the main concern is the increase of noise pollution when increasing speed. Particularly this is problem in mountaineous areas with tunnels, as phenomenon called "tunnel boom" occurs when train enters tunnels at high speeds. The next generation FASTECH 360 trains will have air resistance breaking flaps to make emergency stop faster.
Tokyo station (JR Yamanote line stops there too) operates as a Shinkansen station of Tokyo area.