I am now down to the final two, the 700 series and E4 series, in my list of my favourite shinkansen. As today (14 October) is 鉄道の日 (Tetsudo-no-hi) ‘Railway Day’ in Japan, marking the anniversary of the opening of the first railway, it seems appropriate to bring this series of posts to an end by posting the final two on the same day. This post is about the 700 series. But what position did it finish in on my list? Read on to find out.
As I mentioned before in relation to the 800 series and 500 series, all of my top 4 appeared on the front cover of my book Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan (one from each of the 4 JR companies that had shinkansen at the time of writing it), although I hadn’t intended it to be that way when I started to put the list together.
Here is the original of that picture for the 700-series
I featured many photographs of the 700 series in my book Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan…
I still remember the first time I saw a 700 series. It was in 1999, the year that the 700 series was introduced, and I was on a hikari service that had stopped at Fukuyama to allow a nozomi service to pass. I checked my timetable and spotted that it was going to be a 700 series so got out of the back of the train and went to take a picture as the 700 series passed. Although the picture was taken before I had a digital camera, I do have a scan of it…
Since then I have taken many more pictures of the 700 series…
I remember that the first time that I saw the 700 I didn’t think it was as amazing as I was expecting. I guess it had hard shoes to fill, being the next new shinkansen along the Tokaido and San’yo Shinkansen after the 500 series. But, as I discuss in the Interview for the Compounding Curiosity Podcast, I came to like its duckbill platypus look. Like the E4, it was an interesting train to photograph due to the angles and curves on the front of the train. It’s not perfect, it’s flawed. And, as I discussed in relation to the 500 series and Concorde (and connects with the discussion on wabi sabi) ultimately that’s something that gives it more character and a type of beauty. On top of this, the profile view is amazing – so sharp.
While the 700 series has been retired on Tokaido Shinkansen, it’s still possible (as of 2021) to see it on the San’yo Shinkansen, often as the Hikari Rail Star service, which is my favourite one to look at and travel on (the reserved carriages are 2×2 rather than 2×3). Was never that keen on the ‘Silence Car’ – but otherwise the Rail Star is fabulous.
In addition to the plethora of photos, I also have some 700-series memorabilia. This includes a model that I bought while in Japan one year…
and a keyring…
While the 700 series is becoming harder to see, it continues to live on in my teaching. As with the E4, I feature a video of being in the cab – showing how the train is kept on schedule. I’ve been in the cab of the 700 series twice, which no doubt adds to why I particularly like this shinkansen (I’ve been in the cab of all of my top 4 (albeit the 800 while it was at the factory – but I’ve also been in the cab of the E2, which was not so high on the list). It’s the series of shinkansen that I particularly associate with the four years that I was working on my book Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan. I think the 700 series is the one that had the most photographs in the book. It was also on a 700 series that I wrote the preface to the book on 1 October 2004, the 40th anniversary of the opening of the shinkansen.
Although technically not a 700 series, I have also discussed about getting lucky with photos in relation to the T4 Dr Yellow, which is based on the 700 series.
So where did the 700 series finish on my list of favourite shinkansen? As I also discuss in the Interview for the Compounding Curiosity Podcast, it’s at the top, at Number 1.
To recap here is the list in rank order:
- 700 series
- E4 series
- 500 series
- 800 series
- E7/W7 series
- N700 series (including N700A and N700s variants)
- 100 series
- 0 series
- 400 series
- E1 series
- 300 series
- E2 series
- E6 series
- E5/H5 series
- 200 series
- E3 series
- Information about my research on the shinkansen
- Information about the photographs I use in my research
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Atami
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Fuji
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Fukuyama and Tokuyama
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Gifu-Hashima
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Hamamatsu Station
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Kakegawa
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Lake Hamana
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Maibara
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Mishima Station
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Near Odawara
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Okayama
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Shin-Kobe Station
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Shizuoka Station
- Photographing the Shinkansen: Tokuyama Station
- Hijacking Japan – my novel, set partly on a shinkansen.