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Quite a few train stations have "Shin" in their name, then the name of the city. For example, Shin-Osaka, Shin-Sapporo, Shin-Kobe.

What does it mean, and does it indicate the station is for shinkansen (which in Japanese means "New trunk line"), Japanese bullet trains?

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    Note: The kanji for "shin" is 新, which means "new". You should be able to deduce the rest from this. – Nayuki Aug 20 '16 at 21:57
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What usually happens is that originally, there is a station named X (which may or may not be named after the city where it is located). At some point it is decided that the area needs a new station, and that the new station shall just be named "Shin-X", which should be understood as meaning "the new X".

Sometimes the reason why a new station is necessary is that a new Shinkansen line to the area is planned and it is determined that the existing station is not suitable to accomodate it. This is what happened in Shin-Osaka for example: the area around Osaka station did not have enough room for the necessary developments.

There can be many other reasons why a new station is needed, however. In the case of Shin-Sapporo, it was to serve a new urban development (which incidentally was also named Shin-Sapporo). An interesting one is Shin-Rifu (in Rifu town, near Sendai) which was established when the Tohoku Shinkansen started operating, not because the Shinkansen actually goes to this station, but to accomodate employees and visitors of the neighbouring Shinkansen rail yard. The Japanese wikipedia page of a station usually has a "History" section where some background information about its establishment is given.

And sometimes Shin is just part of the "actual" name of the station, as with Shintoku station (in Shintoku city, Hokkaido).

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    Side notes: not all Japanese words or parts of words pronounced "shin" mean "new", (e.g. "four" is another possibility) but in the case of "Shinkansen" it does also mean "new", as in (roughly) "new type line". – Todd Wilcox Aug 21 '16 at 3:08
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    @ToddWilcox "Four" is not a possibility. Something like "deep" would be. – Casey Aug 21 '16 at 3:48
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    In fact there are only thirteen stations whose name starts with "Shin" but not with the 新 character (versus 201 which start with 新 pronounced "shin"). Incidentally, none of them start with 深, the most common one is 神 (six) followed by 心 and 森 (two each), and 鍼, 宍, and 信 (one each). – fkraiem Aug 21 '16 at 18:55
  • @ToddWilcox Specifically shinkansen means 'new trunk line', reflecting its status as a backbone passenger transport network. – Williham Totland Aug 22 '16 at 8:14
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If you read the Wikipedia articles on the stations and the Shinkansen, you will learn that "shin" means new. Stations with "shin" in their names may be Shinkansen stations, as with Shin-Osaka, or not, as with Shin-Sapporo.

  • And conversely, some "new" Shinkansen stations are not prefixed with Shin, such as Kagoshima-Chuo, Shiroishi-Zao, or more recently Okutsugaru-Imabetsu. – fkraiem Aug 20 '16 at 11:54
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    It's entirely unrelated. Shin-Osaka is basically a newer part of the town, and they happen to have a station there. – Simon Richter Aug 20 '16 at 12:09
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    @SimonRichter Shin-Osaka is not new because it was in the new part of town that happens to have a station. "Osaka's" main station ( in the Umeda area ) was the main intercity station before 1964. Shin-Osaka was named so because it was the new Main Intercity station for Long Distance travel. It was likely easier than trying to integrate high-speed tracks into the existing Umeda-area station. Also remember that Shinkansen is standard gauge, while many tracks are narrow, which meant most stations and tracks couldn't integrate into existing systems. – Armstrongest Aug 23 '16 at 17:39
  • @fkraiem In fact Kagoshima Chuo (central) used to be Nishi (west) Kagoshima. "Kagoshima Station" was a smaller station in the old centre of town. Nishi Kagoshima was the de facto main station for ages but the arrival of the shinkansen and the Chuo rename cemented that. – Neil Bartlett Sep 11 '16 at 10:44

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