The 200 series Shinkansen was introduced in 1982 on the Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen rail lines in Japan and operated until 2013. The 200 Series resembled the earlier 0 and 100 series trains but were lighter and more powerful, since these two lines are mountain routes and have steeper gradients. These lines are also prone to snowfall and the trains had small snowplows fitted, as well as protection of equipment against snow.
The first units were capable of 210 km/h (130 mph) but later ones can do 240 km/h (150 mph), and four were converted to be capable of 275 km/h (171 mph). Some units were modified with retractable couplers in the nose for coupling with Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa and Akita Shinkansen Komachi Mini-shinkansen sets, but these are no longer in service. Some later 200 series shinkansen trains were fitted with double-deck cars, which had semi-open standard-class compartments on the lower deck and green class (first class) seating on the upper deck.