Shinkansen Green Car vs Ordinary Car – What’s The Difference?

shinkansen green car seats

Konnichiwa! For those planning a trip on the Shinkansen, we aim to answer many of your questions as you consider which ticket to buy. Specifically, what is the shinkansen green car and is it worth the extra money?

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What is a Green Car in Shinkansen?

Ah, the Green Car – the Shinkansen Green Car is a premium option for those who want to indulge in a higher level of comfort and service during their Shinkansen travel in Japan. Imagine a first-class airplane cabin, but on rails – that’s the Green Car experience. From the moment you step inside, you’ll be greeted by spaciousness, comfort, and a touch of elegance that sets the tone for your journey.

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Green Car Clover Symbol Marked on the Shinkansen Car
Green Car Clover Symbol Marked on the Shinkansen Car

What is the Difference Between Green Car and Ordinary Car on Shinkansen?

Alright, let’s get to the juicy details – what sets the Green Car apart from its ordinary counterparts? The differences are more than skin deep:

  • Seating Comfort and Space: One of the most noticeable differences is the seating. The green car seating per row is 2 and 2 while the ordinary car is 3 and 2. This allows for the Green Car seats to be wider. The green car seats are also more cushioned and offer generous legroom. You can stretch out and relax comfortably, making those long journeys a breeze. In contrast, while ordinary cars also offer comfortable seating, the Green Car takes it up a notch in terms of plushness and space.
  • Service and Attention: When you step into the Green Car, you’re greeted by attentive and courteous attendants who are dedicated to making your journey as enjoyable as possible. They are there to cater to your needs, whether it’s assisting with luggage, providing information, or serving refreshments. While the service in ordinary cars is still excellent, the personalized attention in the Green Car adds an extra layer of luxury.
  • Quiet and Peaceful Atmosphere: The Green Car is known for its serene atmosphere. It’s a quiet and peaceful environment, perfect for relaxation, work, or even a quick nap. This is in contrast to ordinary cars, which can sometimes be livelier due to the larger number of passengers.
  • Exclusive Atmosphere: The Green Car exudes an air of exclusivity. It’s a bit like entering a private club, where you’re surrounded by fellow travelers who’ve opted for a more luxurious experience. This can enhance the feeling of relaxation and make your journey feel like a special event.
  • Luggage Space: Although the space for luggage is the same between a green car and an ordinary car, because there are fewer seats in a green car, the luggage space per person is more than an ordinary car. Be sure to check the latest luggage limits and reservation requirements for oversized luggage before you travel.
shinkansen green car seats
Typical Shinkansen Green Car Seats
Typical Ordinary Car Seats
Typical Ordinary Car Seats
shinkansen green car seats
Shinkansen Green Car Seats Have More Legroom
luggage stored overhead on shinkansen
Full Sized Luggage will fit overhead on the Shinkansen
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How Many Green Cars are in Shinkansen?

Curious about how exclusive this Green Car club is? On most Shinkansen lines, you’ll usually find at least one Green Car per train. This ensures that no matter which route you’re taking, the opportunity to indulge in a bit of luxury is always within reach. The trains I have been on through the years typically have about 4 green cars.

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Is the Green Car Worth It?

Now comes the million-dollar question – is the Green Car worth the splurge? Well, it truly depends on what you’re looking for in your Shinkansen experience. For comparison’s sake, a 7 day green car rail pass is around $282 while the 7 day pass for the ordinary car is around $211 (as of August 2023). That’s a 33% increase in ticket price, but our family usually splurges for the extra comfort.

Check the latest deals on a Japan Rail Pass (both Green Car and Ordinary) online.

If you’re all about comfort, attentive service, and a touch of luxury, then absolutely yes! The Green Car offers an elevated journey that transforms your travel time into a part of the adventure itself. However, if you’re looking to save some yen and are content with a regular seat, the ordinary cars on the Shinkansen are still incredibly comfortable and efficient.

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Summing It Up

So there you have it, my fellow explorers – the scoop on the Shinkansen Green Car vs ordinary car experience. Whether you’re a luxury-seeking traveler or simply curious about the finer side of train travel, the Green Car offers an unforgettable journey that combines the excitement of travel with the comfort of first-class treatment. So go ahead, treat yourself to a little extra on your next Shinkansen adventure – you won’t regret it!

Disclaimer: If you use the link on this page to purchase travel insurance, we will receive a fee from Freely, a brand of Cover-More Insurance Services Pty Limited ABN 95 003 114 145 (AFSL 241713) (Cover- More). We do not act for Cover-More or Freely. The information provided is only on the availability of Freely products. We do not give advice & the information provided is not intended to give an opinion or recommendation regarding the product. For information on how to contact Cover-More or Freely refer to the PDS, FSG & TMD which can be found on the Freely website.

FAQs – Answers to Other Shinkansen Questions

Shinkansen trains are renowned for their high speeds, often reaching up to 320 km/h (200 mph) on certain routes.

Absolutely! Just like regular seats, you can reserve your Green Car seat in advance through various online platforms or at the train station.

Yes, most Green Cars are equipped with power outlets at each seat, so you can keep your devices charged throughout the journey.

While it’s not encouraged to bring a feast, light snacks and non-offensive odors are permissible. Feel free to bring a bento or indulge in the full shinkansen experience by buying food or drink from the cart that occasionally comes up and down the aisle. Just remember to be considerate of your fellow travelers.

There are two type of Japan Rail Passes; ordinary and green car. Access to the green car requires a green car specific rail pass.

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