Perhaps the biggest difference between now and the past is whether “seat map designation” is generally available when making sure to book a seat. The method of entering the seat number at “Midori no Madoguchi” and requesting “if there is a △ number in the ○ car” has been around for a long time.
when it matters which side you sit on
You can freely choose the car number and seat, which also means that you need to have selection criteria.
First, as an easy-to-understand topic, “Which side should I sit on?” The general layout of the car is that there is an aisle in the center and rows of seats on both sides, so if you are on the right side of the direction of travel, it is easy to see the car on the right window, and vice versa if you’re on the left. Then, you might be thinking, “Which side of the window is best?”
A popular example is the Tokaido Shinkansen. Mount Fuji can be seen from Blocks D and E. In Shizuoka, the Tokaido Shinkansen runs on the Pacific side, and Mt. Fuji is inland at that point, so if you’re on a down train bound for Shin-Osaka, you’ll be on the right, and if you’re on an up train bound for Tokyo, you’ll will be on the left. That’s the D/E seat side.
On regular lines, for example, the limited express “Inaho” of the Uetsu Main Line. Since the train runs north on the Sea of Japan side, the side where the sea can be seen is the left side of the outbound train to Sakata, and the right side of the inbound train to Niigata.
The Shinano Limited Express between the Chuo Main Line and the Shinonoi Line passes Zenkojidaira near Otete on the right side of the outgoing train bound for Nagano and on the left side of the outgoing train bound for Nagoya.
Basically, you can look up which side of the train you want to see on the map and decide which side of the train you should take.
However, there are cases where it is impossible to simply judge “Which party is XX?” For example, the limited express “Hida” on the Takayama Main Line runs along the Hida River, but because it crosses the Hida River many times along the way, the Hida River sometimes appears on the right and sometimes on the left.
Only express trains are mentioned here, and the situation of ordinary trains is the same. When you get into the car, there are empty seats on the left and right, which one will you choose? Best to check ahead of time if you want to keep an eye on train windows.
track surprisingly loose
However, as can be seen from the map, the track is unexpectedly squishy and varies greatly in direction. Therefore, unexpected(?) phenomena sometimes occur.
For example, in the early morning, while rubbing my sleepy eyes, I got on the Tokaido Shinkansen. If you want to sleep in the car, it’s hard to fall asleep with the sun shining directly out the window. Since the sun is on the south side of the A side (facing the left side of the direction of travel), I figured it would be fine if I sat on the opposite side of the E…
In fact, when entering Aichi Prefecture, the morning sun shines in from the E seat side on the right side of the driving direction. The Tokaido Shinkansen runs from Toyohashi to Gifu Hashima, which is roughly northwest by north by west, so the sun is on the E side early in the morning.
This is true even for the Shinkansen, and even more so for regular lines. In fact, there are similar stories on the highway.
Select the case where there is a problem with the car number
Windows and sunlight are “left and right” issues, but “front and rear” can also be a problem. That is, in a train that connects several carriages, which carriage do you choose to sit in? Except in peak season, any car will do when there are seats available, but it is even better if there is a choice.
This is mainly a problem with long formations such as the Shinkansen. The reason is that the final exit is far from the vehicle. This is because most shinkansen stations have stairs or escalators leading to the exit near the center of the platform. If you walk 150m on the platform, it takes two minutes or more.
On the Tohoku Shinkansen south of Morioka, the 10-car Hayabusa, Yamabiko, and Nasuno stop at the end in the Tokyo direction, so their positions have moved accordingly. This is to match the position of “Komachi” and “Tsubasa” when combined. That way, even if they were placed around cars 5 and 6 in the middle of the formation, they would end up closer to Tokyo Station than the center of the platform.
Anyway, shinkansen trains with carriages at the rear of the train are obviously far from the exit, but there are no set rules as there are many different types of regular lines. Do you research ahead of time, or do you memorize the same station when you use it multiple times? If you commute by train to get off work or school, you may remember which car number is closest to the stairs and escalators at the stations you use most often. That’s the story.