The new luxury Japanese bullet train is called Hayabusa, or Falcon. This cutting-edge green, pink and silver train was launched in March 2011, and it is the fastest train currently operating in Japan, travelling at speeds of 198 mph.

Mutsutake Otsuka, chairman of the East Japan Railway Co, said: “To the best of our ability, we will strive to improve Hayabusa’s passenger comfort, safety and environmental friendliness, not just its speed.” Japan said its trains boast a strong safety record, despite running in an earthquake-prone country. No passenger has ever died due to a Shinkansen derailment or collision.

Falcon passengers can enjoy journeys along straight stretches and tunnels cut through Japan’s mountainous countryside. But those keen on spoiling themselves can pay £200 for a one-way trip in the comfort of a ‘GranClass’ car. They will enjoy deep recliner leather seats and a cabin attendant at their disposal for serving food and drinks.

A network of cutting-edge Shinkansen train lines has been built across Japan since the 1960s. But as the island nation struggles with a shrinking population and falling domestic demand, the government and industry are seeking to promote the train abroad. Japan has sold Shinkansen technology to Taiwan and hopes to capture other overseas markets, including Brazil and Vietnam. The biggest prize is a future high-speed U.S. rail network that President Barack Obama has promoted, set to be backed by $13 billion in public funding.