|Predecessor||Hikari Rail Star|
|First service||1951 (Limited express)|
|Current operator(s)||JR Kyushu, JR West|
|Line(s) used||Kyushu Shinkansen, Sanyo Shinkansen|
|Rolling stock||800 series/N700-7000 series/N700-8000 series|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in)|
|Electrification||25 kV AC|
|Operating speed||300 km/h (185 mph)|
The Sakura (さくら, Cherry Blossom) is a high-speed shinkansen service operated between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chūō in Japan since 12 March 2011.
It was formerly a limited express sleeper train service operated by JR Kyushu, which ran from Tokyo to Nagasaki and Sasebo in Kyushu, Japan. This former service was discontinued in 2005 due to revised timetables.
(*) Not served by all trains
Services are formed as shown below with car 1 at the Kagoshima-Chuo end. All cars are no smoking except for smoking compartments in cars 3 and 7. Unusually, reserved ordinary class seats are wider than unreserved seats.
|Facilities||Toilet||Smoking compartment, Toilet, cardphone||Toilet||Smoking compartment, Toilet, wheelchair space||Cardphone|
All cars are no smoking.
The Sakura was first introduced on 1 April 1951 as a daytime Limited express service between Tokyo and Osaka. This service was discontinued in October 1958.
The Sakura sleeping car service commenced on 20 July 1959 using 20 series sleeping cars. From March 1972, the train was upgraded with 14 series sleeping cars.
From 4 December 1999, the Sakura ran coupled with the Hayabusa service between Tokyo and Tosu. The last services ran on the evening of 28 February 2005.
From 12 March 2011, the Sakura name was revived once again for the new shinkansen services operating between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chūō using new JR West N700-7000 series and JR Kyushu N700-8000 series 8-car trainsets.
Sakura trains operate once every hour between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chūō throughout the day. One morning service departs from Kumamoto to Shin-Osaka. There are also additional Sakura services between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo during the daytime. Some Sakura runs within the Kyushu Shinkansen are operated by 6-car 800 series trains.
As with the existing Hikari service that operates on the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen lines, the Sakura is the fastest service on the Sanyo & Kyushu Shinkansen lines that can be used with the Japan Rail Pass.
In the 1990s, the train was formed of up to fourteen 14 series sleeping cars, including two cafeteria cars. The train was hauled by a JR West Class EF66 electric locomotive between Tokyo and Shimonoseki, a JR Kyushu Class EF81 electric locomotive between Shimonoseki and Moji (through the undersea Kanmon Tunnel), and by JR Kyushu Class ED76 electric locomotives from Moji to Nagasaki and Sasebo.