It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Japan is kind of the King of Trains. In addition to the well-known commuter trains, there are also popular sightseeing trains, and believe it or not, head-down-lower-than-your-shoulders and drooling-on-the-guy-in-the-seat-next-to-you aren’t the only ways to sleep while riding the rails in Japan, because the country actually has some pretty great sleeper trains too!

Train fanatics will soon be mourning the loss of one such train, however, as Japan’s longest running sleeper train, Twilight Express, is scheduled to do its final run on March 12 from Osaka to Sapporo. Sad as it is, there is a silver lining to this story as the retired train is going to be replaced by a new train that would frankly run its senpai off the tracks, the “Twilight Express Mizukaze.”


The new train kind of resembles an American football helmet on the outside. Not that it matters what it looks like on the outside, because it’s what’s on the inside that really counts, and the inside is outrageous.

▼ The train will be 10 cars in total.


The whole train is 10 cars long, consisting of a dining car, a lounge car, six sleeper cars and the two sightseeing cars, which come complete with outdoor viewing platforms on the ends, hence the helmet-esque railings.

“Six sleeper cars?” you may be thinking, “Then there’s a good chance that I too may one day get a spot on this fancy new train!” But think again. The concept of the train wouldn’t be “the quality you’ve always desired” if they planned on squashing people together. Rather, with six sleeping cars, the passenger capacity is a mere 30 people. Yes, three-zero, thirty.

Confused? Keep reading.

▼ Five of the six sleeper cars each contain three rooms like this.

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The theme is pretty much “art deco meets the 21st century.” The rooms are stylish and modern, yet give you a sense of nostalgia. There are two classes of rooms you can check in to: A pretty nice looking room sharing a car with two other rooms (above) vs. one whole car all to yourself (indulgent much?). The bathroom situation in the 3-in-1 car is a little unclear at this point, but the high-class car not only has a toilet, but it also has a shower and a bathtub.

▼ I’m pretty sure that the high-class cabin is bigger than my apartment (this isn’t even all of it).

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▼ This bathroom has a tub, so you can soak and completely forget that you’re riding on a train.

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If you aren’t stunned yet, check out the video below. I’m not especially into trains, but I have never wanted to ride one so badly in my life. Good advertising, JR West!

Since the Twilight Express Mizukaze is replacing the country’s most popular sleeper train, it’s only right to show some respect by carrying on the name, tacking on “Mizukaze,” which means “beautiful wind.” The logo is as elegant as the first-class bathroom, with the Mizukaze “M” represented as a mountain range, flanked by two trumpet-holding angels.

▼ I feel classier just looking at the logo.


While prices haven’t been released yet, we can only imagine that it will be out of the price range of the average Taro. But, if you start saving now, you might have enough by the time it starts running in Spring 2017. If you are one of those lucky enough to get a seat (bed? bathtub?), your train ride will take you between the Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe area and Western Honshu. It’s not following the same line as its predecessor, but JR West has its fingers crossed that it will live up to the original Twilight Express’s prestige.

Source: Japaaan Magazine (1, 2)
Images: YouTube (Discover West), Japaaan