I wanted to cross the country in one day. You can do that now, thanks to the incredibly fast bullet trains that connect Japan’s major cities.
The bullet, or Shinkansen, train looks futuristic but celebrates its 50th birthday this year.
Since 2011, it has linked the northernmost city of Aomori, on the main island of Honshu, to the southernmost city of Kagoshima, which is on the island of Kyushu—nearly the distance from New York to Miami.
I left Aomori one morning at 8:28 a.m. Twelve hours later, at 8:14 p.m., my train pulled into Kagoshima. What happened in between was a speedy dream of Japan, a visual rush from bright green rice paddies and old-style Japanese farmhouses to soaring skyscrapers and endless cities.
Throughout the day I sent texts and photographs via Twitter, recounting my version of Japan at 200 miles per hour. What I had not anticipated was that the bullet train would be too fast.
I would begin tweeting about one city we were passing, and by the time I’d finished sending it, we would have arrived at a new one. Between Tokyo and Osaka, cities flew by more quickly than I could keep up with.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
So here is my unsolicited slogan for Japan’s bullet trains: “Faster than Twitter.”
Andrew Evans is a freelance writer who is working on a book about his travels around the world as National Geographic’s Digital Nomad. Follow Andrew’s adventures on Twitter @WheresAndrew.