Rather departing from either the "bullet-shaped" nose of early Shinkansen sets like the 0 Series or latter "sharklike-shaped" nose of the 500 Series, the 800 Series has a much rounder, yet aerodynamic, nose. All 800 Series sets are six cars long, and have a 160 mph (260 km/h) service speed.
These are the first batch of the series. Numbered U001 to U006; U001 was delivered by Hitachi on the 30th of August 2003, through to U006 which was delivered on the 18th of July 2005. Cars 2 and 5 are the pantograph cars.
These are three new sets for the JR Kyushu line. Numbered U007 to U009; the former was delivered on the 8th of August 2009 and U008 was delivered in April 2010. U009 was delivered, JR Kyushu saying that it would be delivered by the autumn of 2010 in a press release of December 2008. The only changes over the first batch are: livery colors/designs, and new seat covers for passengers. Cars 2 and 5 are the pantograph cars. All three sets are dual-purpose; not only do they ferry passengers, but all three sets have dedicated track and overhead line inspection equipment inside them.