Temples Of Japan

Trains of Japan

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Umekoji Rail Museum
An old steam locomotive at Umekoji Rail Museum (Kyoto City)

You may be wondering,
why I am adding a section about Trains of Japan, in a website that is about Temples of Japan.  Well, during the course of my travels to see the Temples of Japan, I have used Trains a lot to go from place to place inside Japan.  Japan is a small country, similar to the size of California and it is lot more convenient to travel Japan by train than by a plane.

Trains have always been a topic of fascination for many people, children and adults alike.  And they are a source of fascination for me too.  So, as I have travel in Japan using Trains, I have started taking photos/videos of the trains, trains stations and the train rides.  And I have decided to share them with my visitors and hope you enjoy them.  I will try to make these pages entertaining with less "wikipedia" style.

Japan was the second largest economy in the world for a long time and apart from being a industrial nation, a large part of the economy (especially local economies in cities and towns) depends on Tourism.  In addition to having many tourist attractions, Japan is also blessed with multiple ecological and weather systems, great mountains and scenic valleys, that will satisfy any tourist.  Japan have made visiting these places very convenient by not only providing an extensive rail network but also making the "Trains", "Train Stations" and "Train Rides" themselves as one of the tourist attractions.

I will skip the extensive "Subway" network that Japan has in this discussion and stick to surface trains.

I would broadly classify the Trains in Japan in four categories:

1) Super Express Trains:  These are the Bullet Trains or Shinkansen.  These trains run at speeds excess of 200 Km/hr.  Because of their speeds, they use dedicated tracks and are not shared with any other trains.

Shinkansen Max Yamabiko
Shinkansen "Max Yamabiko" pulling into a Station

During my travels in Japan using Shinkansen, I have taken some fun videos about Shinkansen.  Click the link below to watch these videos:
Fun Bullet Train (Shinkansen) videos

2) Limited Express Trains:
  Sometimes they are called "Rapid Express" trains and these are the next fastest trains from the Shinkansen.  They can run at speeds of 80 to 120 km/hr and mostly run on the same tracks as the other commuter trains.  In Japan, they are called "Tokyu" and as the name says they have limited stops.

Limited Express - Ocean Arrow
Limited Express "Ocean Arrow" at JR Wakayama Station

3) Semi Express, Express Trains:  These trains are next level down from the Limited Express Trains.  They stop at a few more stops than the Limited Express Trains and run at speeds of 60 to 80 km/hr. 

Ogawamachi express train
Ogawamachi bound Express Train

4) Local Trains:  These trains as the name implies, are meant for shorter distances, mostly connecting cities/towns and stop at every station on a particular train line.  Lot of them are conductor less trains called "one man" trains, with just the driver.  In some cases they take travelers from a major train station to a local tourist attraction.  I would put the trams that cities use for local transportation in this same category.

School kids getting off a Local Train

If you intend to travel a lot, during your next visit to Japan, I suggest you purchase "Japan Rail Pass" (JR Pass).  JR Pass let's you take any Japan Railways train within Japan including Shinkansen (except "Nozomi" Bullet Trains.  In my humble opinion, JTB is the best place to buy the JR Pass.  Please visit http://www.jtb.com (web site in Japanese) or http://www.jtbusa.com (for english website). 

Please visit my web pages about Train Stations and Train Rides in Japan for more informative entertaining.

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