The 0 series (0系 Zero-kei) 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 The last remaining trainsets were withdrawn in 2008.
The 0 series entered service with the start of Tōkaidō Shinkansen operations in October 1964. They were not originally classified, as there was no need to distinguish classes of trainset until later. These units were white with a blue stripe along the windows and another at the bottom of the car body, including the front pilot.
Unlike previous Japanese trains (except for some trains running on standard gauge sections on the Ou Main Line and Tohoku Main Line) the Tōkaidō Shinkansen and all subsequent Shinkansen lines were standard gauge (1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) between the rails). 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 San'yō Shinkansen between Shin-Ōsaka and Hakata, and on the Hakata-Minami Line until their retirement on 30 November 2008.
Following retirement from regular service, JR-West ran a number of special commemorative Hikari runs in December 2008. Hikari 347, powered by set R61, arrived at Hakata Station at 6:01 pm on 14 December 2008, bringing to an end the 44 years of service of the 0 series trains.