My Favourite Shinkansen: The 100 Series Shinkansen


Next, at position number 7, in my series about my favourite shinkansen is the 100 series. I am slightly surprised that it didn’t come higher in the list.

I featured some photographs of the 100 series in my book Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan

A 100-series shinkansen passing Hamanako
A 100-series shinkansen entering the platform at Tokyo next to the plaque of Sogo
A 100-series-renewal shinkansen – the familiar blue stripe of old has been replaced by grey and green stripes, with further improvements made to the seating as JR West tries to encourage people to use its regular Kodama services
A 100-series-renewal shinkansen passing the once-beautiful coastline of the Seto Inland Sea, now blighted by oil refineries near Tokuyama station

Here are some additional photographs of the 100 series I took. Most of my pictures of it were probably taken before I had a digital camera at all, let alone a good one, so the selection here is quite limited.

Very similar to the previous photo, but taken 12 months apart – such is the regular nature of the timetable
A play area inside a 0 series shinkansen
Part of a display in Tokyo Station for the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen

I also have some 100-series memorabilia – a model I bought while in Japan one year…

I have one key memory of the 100 series, which dates back to my first trip to Japan. As I also mentioned in my post End of Eras and in a recent podcast, for my trip from Tokyo to Osaka, I had been expecting the shinkansen trips, one of the highlights of my first visit to Japan, to be the iconic original 0-series. Instead, my friend made sure I was on a 100 series. I had been expecting to see something that resembled a jumbo jet, and instead Concorde turned up. And, although I prefer the 747, there is no debating the amazing look of both Concorde and the 100 series.

My 100-series Hikari in July 1989

Given all of this, it is a bit surprising to me that the 100 series is only 7th on the list. But, like the 0-series, compared to other shinkansen, it wasn’t as comfortable. And, of course, there were some even more amazing shinkansen that came after it.

Finally, here is a picture of me with the 100-series at the museum in Nagoya.

See also

In case you have lost track, the shinkansen that I still need to cover in my top 10 are (in alphabetical/numerical order): 500, 700, 800, E4, E7/W7, and N700.

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