If you are looking to travel around Japan this summer, there is a fantastic new transportation option you should consider.
Japan Railways (JR) has opened booking for their new Kyoto-west Japan sleeper train just about a month ago.
Called Twilight Express Mizukaze, the sleeper train has caught the interest of travelers looking for a more upscale and comfortable way to travel than being packed in a commuter-style train with scant personal space.
The new 10-car train will be set up like a hotel with some sweet private digs including a suite that fills up an entire rail car!
There are three different accommodation options –
Suite – with entrance, living/dining room, bedroom and bathroom, complete with skylight and bathtub. There’s even a private balcony.
Twin – otherwise known as the royal twin room that fits two.
Single – solo travelers have their own accommodations with the Royal single room.
The train also has a dining car as well as a bar, and two observation cars that have balconies in the front and at the back of the train.
The posh rolling hotel holds a maximum of 30 guests, which means it will most likely see high-demand.
In the past there was a Twilight Express train that offered service between Sapporo and Osaka, which was legendary for amazing food. As a nod to the past, the interior of the new Twilight Express Mizukaze is Art Deco inspired and I’m sure dining will be set to impress too (though dining details on the website are still coming soon).
The dining car itself looks very nice though.
You can board the train at either Osaka or Kyoto station, and the end of the line is the charming port town of Shimonoseki (known for poisonous blowfish). Or vice versa, starting at Shimonoseki station bound for Osaka or Kyoto station.
The route that the train takes varies slightly, traveling via the Sanin Main Line or the Sanyo Main Line. This gives you different sightseeing options.
According to Japan Rail’s website here are the planned routes –
– Sanyo Course (Outbound) : a two day tour from Kyoto station and Osaka station to Shimonoseki station via the Sanyo Main Line
Sightseeing Places : Miyajimaguchi and Onomichi
– Sanyo Course (Inbound) : a two day tour from Shimonoseki station to Osaka station and Kyoto station.
Sightseeing places : Kurashiki and Iwukani
– Sanin Course (Outbound) : a two day tour from Kyoto station and Osaka station to Shimonoseki station via the Sanin Main Line
Sightseeing places : Kinosaki Onsen and Higashi-Hagi
– Sanin Course (Inbound) : a two day tour from Shimonoseki station to Osaka station and Kyoto station via the Sanin Main Line.
Sightseeing places : Izumoshi and Tottori
– Sanin and Sanyo Courses (Round tour) : a three day circular tour from Kyoto station and Osaka station to Okayama station, Shinji/Matsue and Higashihama Station.
Service starts June 17, 2017, just in time for a lot of summer travelers.
If you want to learn more about the new train, you can head over to http://twilightexpress-mizukaze.jp/en/ or watch this Youtube video (which is also on the site) –
Please note that for the time being anyhow, you are not able to purchase tickets for the Twilight Express Mizukaze outside of Japan. There also won’t be English services on the train for 2017.
Even without English services and the ability to book online, I think this new train sounds pretty amazing.