Hikari (Shinkansen)

Hikari (Shinkansen)

Infobox j-rail service

caption=Shinkansen 700 Series "Hikari Rail Star", May 2008
type=Super Express
operator=JR Central, JR West
lines=Tōkaidō Shinkansen, Sanyō Shinkansen
maxspeed= 285 km/h
2000 ("Rail Star")
stock=300/700/N700 series

nihongo|"Hikari"|ひかり is one of the train services running on the Japanese Tōkaidō/Sanyō Shinkansen "bullet train" lines. Slower than the "Nozomi" but faster than the "Kodama", the "Hikari" is the fastest train service on the Tōkaidō and Sanyō Shinkansen that is covered in the Japan Rail Pass. The word "hikari" means "light" in Japanese.


Before and during World War II, "Hikari" was the name of the express train from Busan, Korea to Changchun, Manchuria. In the 1950s, the name was used for express trains from Fukuoka to Kagoshima and Beppu.

When the Shinkansen opened in 1964, "Hikari" was the fastest train on the line, travelling from Tokyo Station to Shin-Ōsaka Station with only two stops (Nagoya and Kyōto). "Hikari" service was extended to the Sanyō Shinkansen later, although the "Hikari" trains were only slightly faster than the "Kodama" trains, earning them the derisive nickname "Hidama."

As of 2008, JR Central "Hikari" services, which operate throughout the Tōkaidō/Sanyō corridor, use 16-car 700 Series and 300 Series trains. Most "Hikari" trains pull over at intermediate stations such as Shizuoka, Maibara or Himeji to allow faster services, mainly "Nozomi" trains, to pass through at top speed.

In March 2008, the new N700 Series Shinkansen was put into service on a morning "Hikari" service between Shin-Yokohama and Hiroshima stations, and a late night run between Tokyo and Nagoya. A third N700 "Hikari" run between Nagoya and Tokyo will be added in October 2008. [cite press release | title = 秋の臨時列車のお知らせ| publisher = JR Central| date = 2008-08-22| url = http://jr-central.co.jp/news/release/nws000167.html| accessdate = 2008-08-25]

"Hikari Rail Star"

JR West began operating the "Hikari Rail Star" service in 2000. This service is limited to the Sanyō Shinkansen, and uses special 8-car 700 Series trains with a distinctive livery and a maximum speed of 285 km/h. JR West introduced the service to provide better competition against airlines on the Osaka-Fukuoka route. The reserved seat cars on "Hikari Rail Star" trains feature a 2-2 seating arrangement instead of the 3-2 arrangement found on other "Hikari". The front row of seats in these cars feature power points for laptop users.

Hikari Stopping Patterns (as of March 2008)

● All trains stop
▲ Some trains stop
▬ No trains stop/Service does not run here
(###) Train numbers included in/excluded from table


* "JR新幹線&特急列車ファイル" (JR Shinkansen & Limited Express Train File), published 2008 by Kōtsū Shimbun
* JR Timetable, March 2008 issue

External links

* [http://www.khi.co.jp/sharyo/pro_final/pro_jrn700_e.html Kawasaki Heavy Industries: Hikari Rail Star description]

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