You may be familiar with Japan's bullet trains, also known as Shinkansen trains, that offer visitors an experience like no other with speeds reaching up to 320 km/hr.
But have you heard about the Japanese sleeper trains, which peaked in the 1970s, expanding the country's network of bullet trains, domestic air routes, and cheaper night buses?
The Sunrise Seto and the Sunrise Izumo are the only regularly operating sleeper trains left. On their outward journey from Tokyo, the two trains are coupled together as one long 14-car train until they reach Okayama.
At Okayama Station, the Sunrise Seto and the Sunrise Izumo are separated into two 7-car trains. Each train then continues on their own, eventually reaching 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.
On their return journeys, these two trains run separately from their starting points at Takamatsu and Izumo, and are coupled together once again when they reach Okayama and stay that way all the way to the final stop at Tokyo.
The daily trains depart Tokyo at 10 pm and arrive at their destinations at 7:27 am (Takamatsu) and 9.58 am (Izumoshi). Taking advantage of this service can save travelers the expenses of a night in a hotel.
The Sunrise Seto/Izumo don’t offer regular seating. Instead, the carts are equipped with private cabins and an open area called “nobi nobi” which invites to lay down on carpeted ground.
Depending on the compartment type, Japan Rail Pass holders will have to pay an additional supplement up to about 17,000 yen (~$153) to ride in the cabins, but usually will be able to use the “nobi nobi” without paying extra.
Common use areas include a shower that passengers can use for 6 minutes after buying a token. However, there is a limited supply of these tokens, so everyone who wants to use the shower during their trip is advised to buy one early.