The 0 series trains were the first Shinkansen trainsets built to run on Japan’s new Tōkaidō Shinkansen high-speed line which opened in Japan in 1964. The trains were powered by 25 kV AC electricity at 60 Hz with all axles of all cars powered by 185 kW traction motors, giving a 220 km/h (140 mph) top speed.
The original trains were introduced as 12-car sets, with some sets later lengthened to 16 cars. Later, shorter trains of 6 cars and even 4 cars were assembled for lesser duties. Production of 0 series units continued from 1963 until 1986.
Shinkansen sets are generally retired after fifteen to twenty years. The final remaining 0 series sets were 6-car sets used on JR-West Kodama services on the Sanyō Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Hakata, and on the Hakata-Minami Line until their retirement on 30 November 2008.