My Favourite Shinkansen: The 300 Series Shinkansen

The next in my series about my favourite shinkansen is the 300 series, the first non-JR East shinkansen in the (reverse-order) list. It some ways it’s a shame that the 300 series doesn’t make the top 10 since it was, at least on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen, one of the most distinctive and different looking shinkansen.

I featured some photographs of the 300 series in my book Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan

A 300-series shinkansen passing tea fields in Shizuoka Prefecture – one of the most popular sites for photographs by railway enthusiasts along the Tokaido Shinkansen
A 300-series shinkansen passing Mount Fuji
Statue of Ono Banboku and his wife outside Gifu-Hashima station, where a 300-series shinkansen is waiting for a faster service to pass
A 300-series passing the RTRI large-scale low-noise wind tunnel facility in Maibara, outside of which three experimental trains are housed
A 300-series shinkansen exits a tunnel with a noise-reducing-hood installed. Given the location of the newly constructed house, one can assume the hood has had some positive impact
A 300-series shinkansen passing cherry blossom and office buildings in Tokyo
A 300-series shinkansen passing through the historically important town of Sekigahara

Here are some additional photographs of the 300 series I took between 2005 and 2010…

Signs of probably having hit a bird

By the time I had a better digital camera (in 2011), the 300 series was making its final runs on the Tokaido Shinkansen. I spent a very enjoyable day with a friend going to a variety of spots to take photographs. Here are some photos that I took that day…

Returning to one of the photographs in my book Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan, it is ironic that there is a picture of a 300 series having to wait for a faster Nozomi service to pass, as one of the reasons why the 300 series is not among my top 10 is the fact that when it was introduced I was living in Japan on the JET Programme and I often took a Kodama or Hikari service between Nagoya and Kyoto and usually ended up on services that waited at stations so that the new service and series of train could pass.

I remember that during that year that an important delegation was visiting Japan from China, with the possibility of choosing the shinkansen for their own high speed rail network being one of the things that was being looked at. The delegation took a ride on the new 300 series Nozomi service. Coming from the UK, where trains often seem to break down or run late, coupled with my relative dislike of the 300 series, I have to admit that I felt a degree of schadenfreude when the train broke down (after its introduction, the 300 series suffered a number of problems in the early months).

While the 300 series definitely looks different from other shinkansen, it was a design I never particularly liked. There is an irony about this as one of the things that it reminded me of was one of my favourite movies from my teenage years…

The 300 series as Robocop

At least I did have one of my favourite shinkansen trips on a 300 series, as I have written about before.

See also

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