Sign in for a personalized experience.
Japan Guide Homepage
Travel
Living
Forum
Restaurants
Shopping
Jobs
Friends
News
-
Essentials
-
Sightseeing
-
Accommodation
-
Transportation
-
Restaurants
-
Shopping
-
Budget Travel
-
Questions

Willer Express - Inexpensive Highway Bus Reservations in English

Home - Travel - Transportation
Night Trains

jump to:   links

Below is a network map of Japan's night trains, i.e. trains that run through the night. All night trains are operated by Japan Railways (JR). Due to competition by cheaper overnight buses and low domestic airfares, the number of night trains in Japan has decreased dramatically in recent years.

Berth Types and Fees

Most Japanese night trains are equipped with berths in shared and private compartments. Some trains also carry a few seats. Berths come in two classes, A and B, with B being the more basic and less costly. In addition, some trains offer a "Special A Class" with rather luxurious suites.

All night trains are equipped with toilets and sinks, and the better ones have also public phones, showers, a restaurant and a lounge or lobby car.

  • Shared Compartments
    Like "couchettes" on European night trains, shared compartments on Japanese night trains come with 2-3 story tall bunk beds that can accommodate 4-6 people. "B class" berths cost around 6,000 yen per person, while "A class" berths cost around 10,000 yen per person. Most night trains carry some shared compartments of either or both classes.
  • Private Compartments
    Private compartments come in single and twin. "B class" rooms cost around 6,000 to 9,000 yen per person and "A class" rooms around 14,000 yen per person. More luxurious suites cost up to 25,000 yen per person. A single person using a twin compartment will have to pay for two persons. Most night trains have some private compartments, but only a few carry luxury suites.
  • Seats
    A few night trains carry cars with seats. Depending on the train, the seats may be non reserved, partially reserved or all reserved. No berth surcharge has to be paid for seats on night trains.
  • Carpet Seats
    A small number of night trains carry one or more cars of carpeted compartments, where passengers can lie down onto the carpeted floor. Advance reservations are mandatory. No berth surcharge has to be paid for using carpeted compartments on night trains.

In addition to the above mentioned berth surcharges, night train passengers will also have to pay the base fare and (limited) express fee for the distance traveled. Unlike the base fare and limited express fee, berth surcharges are fixed and do not vary based on the distance traveled.

Advance reservations are required to ride most night trains. Note, however, that it is not easily possible to make these reservations from outside of Japan, which can make it difficult for foreign tourists to ride the more popular night trains, especially during travel peak seasons.

 
Japan Rail Pass and night trains

The Japan Rail Pass does not cover the cost for shared or private compartments! Pass holders will have to pay for them separately. When using shared or private compartments on a night train, pass holders additionally have to pay the (limited) express fee, which is typically around 3,000 yen.

The Japan Rail Pass does, however, fully cover the cost for seats and carpet seats on night trains. Note, however, that quite a few night trains do not carry seats.

 
List of trains

Below is a list of Japan's few surviving night trains. The following information is given for each train (note that the ticket costs refer to a trip along the complete route):

Train Category   Train Name: Route
More detailed route, showing other major stations
Approx. duration of the trip Frequency of departures
Comments
Seat
Shared Compartment
Private Compartment
Approx. ticket cost without Japan Rail Pass Approx. ticket cost with Japan Rail Pass Approx. ticket cost without Japan Rail Pass Approx. ticket cost with Japan Rail Pass Approx. ticket cost without Japan Rail Pass Approx. ticket cost with Japan Rail Pass

From Tokyo:

Limited Express   Cassiopeia: Ueno (Tokyo) - Sapporo
Ueno - Omiya - Utsunomiya - Fukushima - Sendai - Hakodate - Sapporo
Approx. 17 hours 3-4 trains per week
The Cassiopeia is Japan's most luxurious night train. It is equipped with a lounge and restaurant car and private "A class" twin rooms exclusively. It also carries some luxury suites. Japan Rail Pass users will have to pay an additional supplement for the non-JR section used between Morioka and Aomori.
Seat
Shared Compartment
Private Compartment
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
-
-
-
-
35,000 yen
23,500 yen

Limited Express   Hokutosei: Ueno (Tokyo) - Sapporo
Ueno - Omiya - Utsunomiya - Fukushima - Sendai - Hakodate - Sapporo
Approx. 17 hours 1 train per day
Equipped with shared compartments, private compartments, luxury suites and a restaurant car. Japan Rail Pass users will have to pay an additional supplement for the non-JR section used between Morioka and Aomori.
Seat
Shared Compartment
Private Compartment
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
-
-
28,000 yen
16,500 yen
28,000 yen
16,500 yen

Limited Express   Sunrise Seto: Tokyo - Takamatsu
Tokyo - Osaka (only served in direction of Tokyo) - Himeji - Okayama - Takamatsu
Approx. 10 hours 1 train per day
Equipped with private compartments and so called "Nobinobi" seats, which are carpeted compartments to lie down, but are categorized as seats and can be used for free with the Japan Rail Pass. Note, however, that the carpeted compartments are popular and are frequently booked out. The Sunrise Seto is coupled to the Sunrise Izumo between Tokyo and Okayama.
Nobinobi Seat
Shared Compartment
Private Compartment
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
14,500 yen
free
-
-
21,000 yen
9,500 yen

Limited Express   Sunrise Izumo: Tokyo - Izumo
Tokyo - Osaka (only served in direction of Tokyo) - Himeji - Okayama - Matsue - Izumoshi
Approx. 12 hours 1 train per day
Equipped with private compartments and so called "Nobinobi" seats, which are carpeted compartments to lie down, but are categorized as seats and can be used for free with the Japan Rail Pass. Note, however, that the carpeted compartments are popular and are frequently booked out. The Sunrise Izumo is coupled to the Sunrise Seto between Tokyo and Okayama.
Nobinobi Seat
Shared Compartment
Private Compartment
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
15,500 yen
free
-
-
21,500 yen
9,500 yen

From Osaka:

Limited Express   Twilight Express: Osaka - Sapporo
Osaka - Kyoto - Kanazawa - Nagaoka - Sapporo
Approx. 21 hours 4-7 trains per week
Equipped with shared compartments, private compartments, luxury suites, a restaurant and a salon car. The Twilight Express travels the longest distance of any current train service in Japan.
Seat
Shared Compartment
Private Compartment
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
-
-
26,500 yen
9,500 yen
28,500 yen
11,500 yen

From Sapporo:

Express   Hamanasu: Sapporo - Aomori
Sapporo - Hakodate - Aomori
Approx. 8 hours 1 train per day
Equipped with shared compartments, reserved seats (reclining "dreamcar" seats), non-reserved seats and a so called "nobinobi carpet car", which features carpeted compartments to lie down. Seats and the nobinobi carpet compartments can be used for free with the Japan Rail Pass. Some shared compartments, nobinobi carpet compartments and reserved seats are for exclusive use by women. Note that on some days, the Hamanasu may not feature all of the above mentioned car types.
Seats, nobinobi carpet car
Shared Compartment
Private Compartment
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
w/o JR Pass
with JR Pass
9,500 yen
free
16,000 yen
8,000 yen
-
-

In addition to the above listed trains, there are a few night trains, which run only during certain seasons or selected days of the year, such as the Limited Express Nihonkai between Osaka and Aomori and a few so called "Moonlight" trains, e.g. the Moonlight Nagara and Moonlight Echigo, which are classified as rapid trains (kaisoku) and can be used with the Seishun 18 Kippu.

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

Advertisement

User Feedback
We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

Japanese Links
Sleeper Trains
A railfan's page about Japan's night trains with pictures and information about each train.

Online Reservations
Hotel
 
Car
 
Flight
 
Bus

(check-in)

Related Pages
Travel
Transportation

Railways
Taking trains
Guide to Train Tickets
Train Timetables

Domestic Ferries
Highway Buses
Domestic Air Travel
Car Rental

Travel
Living
Japan A-Z
Community
Sightseeing
Accommodation
Transportation
Shopping
Essentials
Regions
Prefectures
Cities
Working
Studying
Living Cost
Apartments
Arts and Crafts
Entertainment
History
Religion
Etiquette
Food
Language
Tradition
Question Forum
Classifieds
Trip Reports
Member Area
Sightseeing Guide
Hokkaido
Sapporo
Otaru
Hakodate
Noboribetsu
Niseko
Furano
Daisetsuzan
Shiretoko
more...
Tohoku
Sendai
Matsushima
Hiraizumi
Hachimantai
Hirosaki
Lake Towada
Dewa Sanzan
Aizu
more...
Kanto
Tokyo
Yokohama
Kamakura
Hakone
Nikko
Kawagoe
Kusatsu
Narita
more...
Chubu
Nagoya
Mount Fuji
Izu Peninsula
Matsumoto
Kiso Valley
Takayama
Shirakawa-go
Kanazawa
more...
Kansai
Kyoto
Osaka
Nara
Kobe
Himeji
Mount Koya
Kumano
Ise Shima
more...
Chugoku
Hiroshima
Miyajima
Okayama
Kurashiki
Tottori
Matsue
Iwakuni
Hagi
more...
Shikoku
Takamatsu
Kotohira
Naoshima
Matsuyama
Kochi
Tokushima
Naruto
Iya Valley
more...
Kyushu
Fukuoka
Nagasaki
Kumamoto
Mount Aso
Beppu
Kagoshima
Kirishima
Yakushima
more...
Okinawa
Honto
Kume
Miyako
Yaeyama
Copyright © 1996-2014 japan-guide.com All rights reserved - Last Page Update: April 11, 2014
home - site map - privacy policy - terms of use - contact - employment - Lɂ‚ - advertising