The first high-speed Shinkansen train was inaugurated in 1964, but the Shinkansen brand is a little older. The word Shinkansen 「新幹線」 (meaning “new trunk line") was used for the first time in 1940, for a high-speed train project designed to connect Tokyo to Shimonoseki.
The Shinkansen is better known in English as the “bullet train", dangan ressha 「弾丸列車」 in Japanese, a phrase that originally designated the very first Japanese fast-train project, dating back to the 1930s. Not surprisingly, the name stuck because of the rounded shape of the first Shinkansen trainset, the “0 Series".
To catch a glimpse of the Shinkansen’s rich history, I highly recommend a visit to the SCMaglev and Railway Park in Nagoya… The museum offers a great deal of information and exhibits and my favorite view is the one photographed here, a perfect lineup of the first 30 years of Shinkansen trainsets: the 0 Series (from the 1960s and 1970s), the 100 Series (middle of 1980s) and the 300 Series (1990s)…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: