High-Speed Rail in Japan
Anyone who was looking into Japan travel has heard about the world-famous Shinkansen. Although in English the word "Shinkansen" in most cases is used in the sense of "Japanese bullet train", the term also refers to the modern rail lines that are served by the renowned trains.
It all started with Tokaido Shinkansen that began to operate in 1964. Today, when it takes just 2 and a half hours to travel from Tokyo to Osaka, one of the most modern and beloved by tourists Japanese cities, it seems so hard to believe that just 50 years ago Shinkansen lines were introduced to connect the remote regions with the country's capital to help the region's economical growth. Clearly, that turned out well.
But not everybody knows that in the beginning, the idea of bullet trains in Japan faced quite a strong opposition. Which is understandable, it's always scary to be a pioneer, and no other country has built separate train lines meant for high-speed travel at the time. Some very respected public figures had resented Shinkansen and were not shy to voice their concerns.
Luckily, Japanese bullet trains proved to be nothing but success on all fronts and became the public's favorites in just a few years. In fact, Japan's Shinkansen was such a big success that it inspired many European countries to implement very similar technology! Thanks to that, France proudly introduced its first high-speed TGV trains in 1981, followed by Germany's Intercity Express 10 years later.
Now the Japanese high-speed rail network is over half a century old, but don't you dare think that it in any way outdated. Over the decades, the system was relentlessly modified and improved. It was never about keeping up-to-date with modern technology. On the contrary, it was always about proudly leading the way into the future. The very first line that started it all, Tokaido Shinkansen, is among the busiest high-speed rail lines in the world, that carried over 5.6 billion passengers since its first day in service. Every day during the rush hour, the line operates 13 trains per hour, each carrying over 20.000 passengers! Impressive, right?