The most common causes of delay or cancelation when it comes to the Shinkansen are bad weather and passenger emergencies. On Tuesday, however, Japan’s famous bullet train was halted due to a much more unusual reason: being hit by cup noodles. Well, not only cup noodles; there were also some sweets, plastic bottles and other items reportedly thrown at the train, ending up on its roof. A station attendee allegedly witnessed several paper bags being thrown. Fortunately, no one was injured.  

40 Minute Delay Due to One Man and His Cup Noodles

The incident occurred at around 6:55 p.m. on April 2, not long after the Sakura 65 Shinkansen, bound for Kagoshima-Chuo Station, departed JR Hiroshima Station. All 392 passengers were ordered to depart the train, which halted its operation. Shinkansen services bound for Kyushu were subsequently delayed for up to 40 minutes, affecting approximately 5,600 passengers.   

JR West notified the police about the incident and the following day, a 34-year-old man from Himeji city in Hyogo Prefecture, who told the police he was self-employed, was taken in for questioning. He admitted to the crime, telling officers that there was “no doubt” that he had done it. He stated, “I wanted to board the Shinkansen, but it started to depart, so I threw [noodles] at it.” The police arrested him on suspicion of violating the Shinkansen Special Provisions Act. 

The Shinkansen: One of the World’s Most Punctual Trains

Launched nine days before the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, the Shinkansen is the most comfortable and most convenient way to travel in Japan. As well as being very fast — reaching a maximum speed of 320 kilometers per hour — these bullet trains are also known for their punctuality. According to an annual report released by Japan Railways in 2020, the average delay time for the Tokaido Shinkansen in 2019 was 0.2 minutes. That figure has slightly increased since then, though, with an average delay of 1.1 minutes per train in 2022. 

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