Shinkansen Bullet Train in Japan. The Shinkansen is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan. Since the initial Tokaido Shinkansen opened in 1964 running at 210 km/h (130 mph), the network has expanded to link most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu with running speeds of up to 300 km/h (188 mph), in an earthquake- and typhoon-prone environment. Test run speeds have been 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world record of 581 km/h (361 mph) for maglev trains in 2003.