One of the best places in Tokyo for trainspotting and getting your Shinkansen fix is Tokyo Station. Read on to find out how to see Shinkansen at Tokyo Station and how to make the most of your visit!
Buying A Platform Ticket
To get your Shinkansen fix at Tokyo Station get off at Tokyo Station with your existing train ticket or IC card and head to the Shinkansen ticket gates.
Next, buy a platform ticket (入場券 | nyuujouken) at the green fare adjustment and platform ticket machine (入場券発売機 | nyuijouken hatsubai ki).
The platform ticket is 140 yen (70 yen for children 6+) and is valid for two hours from the time of purchase.
And if you think 2 hours is too long… Your kids might think differently!
Seriously, there’s vending machines, bento stands, a snack kiosk and waiting room on the platform.
The toilets and nursing room are downstairs, right as you exit the escalators.
Basically as long as you bring diapers and extra cash you have everything you need to entertain your kids for two hours!
All The Shinkansen You’ll See at Tokyo Station
Tokaido and San’you Shinkansen: Nozomi, Hikai, Kodama
東海道・山陽新幹線：のぞみ ひかり こだま
Touhoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen: Hayabusa, Hayate, Yamabiko, Nasuno
東北・北海道新幹線：はやぶさ はやて やまびこ なすの
Jouetsu Shinkansen: Toki, MAX Toki, Tanigawa, MAX Tanigawa
上越新幹線：とき Maxとき たにがわ Maxたにがわ
Hokuriku Shinkansen: Kagayaki, Hakutaka, Asama
北陸新幹線：かがやき はくたか あさま
Akita Shinkansen: Komachi
Yamagata Shinkansen: Tsubasa
I hate to break it to you, but it’s very very unlikely that you will see the diagnostic Shinkansen Doctor Yellow. Its schedule is unpublished though some Japanese fan sites have gathered info on when you might expect it. Once I have enough information myself I’ll write a proper blog post!
The platforms are divided by destination:
West Japan: Serviced by San’you and Tokkaido Shinkansen
East Japan: Serviced by Tohoku, Yamagata, Akita, Hokkaido, Joetsu, and Hokuriku Shinkansen
Know Before You Go
Just to be clear, you cannot ride the Shinkansen with this ticket. It is tempting, though!
Fare to Shinagawa plus a non-reserved Shinkansen ticket will set you back 1,000 yen while fare to Ueno plus a non-reserved Shinkansen ticket is 990 yen. Ask me how I know this…
If you want to take a commemorative photo at the spot where the Akita and Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen are coupled, first check for the platform number. The LED display will say HAYABUSA KOMACHI.
The Hayabusa/Komachi junction is somewhere around car 10.
Take the elevator to the platform and you’ll be in the area as soon as you get off. You’ll immediately know you’re there when you see a bunch of parents and kids posing for photos.
The trains arrive and depart Tokyo Station already coupled together. If you want to see how the trains are connected and disjointed, you’ll have to travel all the way to Morioka Station, which is where the Akita and Tohoku Shinkansen tracks diverge.
The platform is narrow at this section and there’s only just a rope marking off the platform edge. Watch your step, hold your kids’ hands, and have fun!
Trainista is a shop inside Tokyo Station specializing in train-themed merchandise. I’ve yet to take my Kaiju to it as my wallet couldn’t handle her demands. If it’s anything like the at The Railway Museum in Omiya, you’ll find plenty of stickers, towels, toys, snacks, bento box, water bottles, socks, clothing and so much more!