Wednesday, June 19, 2019
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Japanese Sleeper Trains simply look from the outside but their interior is an oasis of peace

In the 1960s, the Japanese economy, including the railways, improved significantly. The first modern high-speed railway opened in 1964 and many limited express trains and night trains began to cross the country. After the popularity of Japanese sleeper trains peaked in the 70s, the growing network of bullet trains, domestic airways and cheaper night buses almost wiped out this mode of travel.

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The Sunrise Seto and the Sunrise Izumo are the only regularly operating sleepers that are left over. During their outward journey from Tokyo, the two trains will be joined as one long train with 14 cars until they reach Okayama.

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At the Okayama station, the Sunrise Seto and Sunrise Izumo are separated into two 7-vehicle trains. Each train then goes on its own and eventually reaches different destinations. The Sunrise Seto goes to the city of Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku and the Sunrise Izumo goes to the city of Izumo in Shimane Prefecture.

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On their return journeys these two trains run separate from their departure points in Takamatsu and Izumo and are reconnected when they reach Okayama and they stay all the way to the last stop in Tokyo.

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The daily trains depart at 22:00 in Tokyo and arrive at their destination at 7:27 am (Takamatsu) and 9:58 am (Izumoshi). By using this service, travelers can save the cost of a night in a hotel.

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The Sunrise Seto / Izumo do not offer regular seats. Instead, the carts are equipped with private cabins and an open area called "nobi nobi" that invites you to lie on carpeted ground.

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Depending on the compartment type, holders of the Japanese Rail Pass will have to pay an extra fee of up to approximately 17,000 yen (~ $ 153) to drive in the cabins, but usually they will be able to use the "nobi nobi" without paying extra.

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Common areas for use include a shower that passengers can use for 6 minutes after buying a token. However, there is a limited supply of these runners, so anyone who wants to use the shower during their trip is advised to buy one early.

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Other facilities on the train are toilets, vending machines and lounges.

Image credits: W0746203-1 / Wikipedia Commons

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The Sunrise Seto / Izumo aside, many Japanese railway companies try to attract new customers by offering luxury sleeping cars. These usually have five-star lounges with working fireplaces, dining and observation cars with panoramic floor to floor views and menus designed by starred Michelin starred chefs. A ride on one of these can put you back up to $ 10,000!

Twilight Express Mizukaze

Image credits: AFP

Image credits: AFP

Image credits: AFP

The Seven Stars train

Image credits: Japanese specialist

Image credits: Japanese specialist

Image credits: Japanese specialist

People had a lot to say about these trains


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