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.
Set U005 was derailed as a result of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes and was taken out of service; the set was scrapped in March 2018.
These three sets, numbered U007 to U009, are nicknamed the "New 800 Series Shinkansen". Sets U007 and U009 were delivered in 2009 and U008 was delivered in 2010. Externally, the three sets can be differentiated from the 800 Series Shinkansen by the more contoured headlamps and a minor difference with regards to the red stripe lining the side; internally, the sets have different seat covers compared to the older 800 Series sets.
However, in terms of electronics, the New 800 Series sets have a world of differences; not only do the New 800 Series sets act as normal revenue-earning Shinkansen sets, they also feature track inspection equipment to help monitor a variety of equipment on the tracks. Sets U007 and U009 are classified as 800-1000 Series sets and include track monitoring equipment, while set U008 is classified as an 800-2000 Series set and features overhead wire and signal monitoring equipment.