I didn’t realise it but last night marked the first time I have travelled the entire Shinkansen network as it currently stands, apart from the tiny spur to Gala-Yuzawa. I was only missing the bit between Kumamoto and Shin-Yatsuhiro as it was still under construction when we visited in 2009.

I’ve done the Yamagata and Niigata Shinkansen lines previously and we’ve travelled the Hokuriku and Akita Shinkansen lines as recently as the past year. 

This trip I’ve gone as far north – Shin Hakodate Hokuto – as you can to as far south – Kagoshima-Chuo – as you can go. 

It’s an amazing fast train network. If only we had anything like it in Australia. 

And right now I’m riding it back to Shin-Osaka. I managed to check into an earlier Sakura Shinkansen, though it meant buying a bento on board for some food. 

The Shinkansen may not be as fun or as interestingly scenic as a slow local train, but when you are as exhausted as I am, the cool comfort is very welcome. 

And so the circuit will be complete and I will be back to where I started this rail adventure from. Family fun time now. 

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