Night Trains

Train wagons

Most Japanese night trains are equipped with couchettes and private rooms with beds, and some have cars with seats. Couchettes and private rooms 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.

  • Couchettes
    Couchettes are bunk beds, two or three stories high, in compartments shared by four to six people. "B class" couchettes cost around 6,000 Yen, and "A class" couchettes around 10,000 Yen. Most night trains carry at least one couchette car of either or both classes.
  • Private Rooms
    Private rooms come in single and twin. "B class" rooms cost around 6,000-9,000 Yen per person, and "A class" rooms around 14,000 Yen/person. More luxurious suites can cost up to 38,000 Yen/person. Most night trains have some private rooms, but only a few have 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. Seat reservations cost about 300 to 500 Yen. Seat reservations are free for Japan Rail Pass holders.

Japan Rail Pass and night trains

The Japan Rail Pass does not cover the cost for a couchette or private room! You will have to pay for it separately. In addition, you will also have to pay the (limited) express fee, which is typically around 3,000 Yen, if you travel in a couchette or private room.

While the Japan Rail Pass does not cover the cost for couchettes and beds, it does cover the cost for a seat on night trains. Note however, that quite a few night trains do not carry cars with seats.

Seishun 18 Kippu and night trains

Most night trains are classified as limited express (tokkyu) or express (kyuko), and can therefore not be used with the Seishun 18 Kippu, which is only valid on local (futsu) and rapid (kaisoku) trains.

However, there is a small number of night train classified as rapid (kaisoku), which can be used with the Seishun 18 Kippu. These trains are called "Moonlight". The only Moonlight trains operating on a daily basis are the Moonlight Nagara and Moonlight Echigo.

Content of this article provided by Japan Guide.


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