Shinkansen N700-7000 S1 (49766090102).jpg
A N700-7000 series shinkansen on the Sanyo Shinkansen
Service typeShinkansen
PredecessorHikari Rail Star
First service1951 (Limited express)
2011 (Shinkansen)
Current operator(s)JR Kyushu, JR West
Former operator(s)JNR
Line(s) usedKyushu Shinkansen, Sanyo Shinkansen
On-board services
Class(es)Ordinary, Green
Seating arrangementsUnidirectional
Rolling stock800 series/N700-7000 series/N700-8000 series
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Electrification25 kV AC
Operating speed300 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.[1]

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.

Service pattern

(*) Not served by all trains


N700 series (8 cars)

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.

Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Class Non-reserved Non-reserved Non-reserved Reserved Reserved Reserved Green Reserved Reserved
Facilities Toilet   Smoking compartment, Toilet, cardphone   Toilet     Smoking compartment, Toilet, wheelchair space Cardphone

800 series (6 cars)

All cars are no smoking.

Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6
Class Non-reserved Non-reserved Non-reserved Reserved Reserved Reserved


Limited express service

14 series sleeping car at the rear of the Sakura service at Hakata Station, May 2003
14 series sleeping car at the rear of the Sakura service at Hakata Station, May 2003

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.[2]

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.[2]

From 4 December 1999, the Sakura ran coupled with the Hayabusa service between Tokyo and Tosu.[3] The last services ran on the evening of 28 February 2005.

Shinkansen service

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.[1]

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.[4]

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.

Rolling stock

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.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b JR Kyushu: "新幹線の列車名決定!!" Archived 19 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 26 February 2009. (in Japanese)
  2. ^ a b c 列車名鑑1995 [Train Name Directory 1995]. Japan: Railway Journal. August 1995.
  3. ^ こだわりの新幹線&特急列車ガイド [In-depth Shinkansen & Limited Express Guide]. Japan: Ikaros Publishing. August 2000. ISBN 4-87149-284-2.
  4. ^ 平成23年春ダイヤ改正 [Spring 2011 timetable revision] (Press release) (in Japanese). JR Kyushu. 17 December 2010. Archived from the original on 20 December 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010.