The Tokaido Shinkansen Line is set to mark its 50th anniversary in October, having carried more than 5.5 billion passengers since its 1964 debut.

"We would like to put special emphasis on this milestone year," declared Koei Tsuge after assuming the presidency of Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai), the operator of the line, in April.

The project to build the bullet train line started in April 1959 during the postwar high-growth period and was completed in just over five years. It went smoothly thanks to a project nicknamed "dangan ressha" (bullet train) before the start of the Pacific War. The project aimed to link Tokyo to Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, a distance of 970 km, by rail in less than nine hours.