This beloved sleeper train might be off the rails now but it’s still bringing joy to guests from all around the world.

With so many unusual types of accommodation to choose from in Japan, it can be difficult for a new establishment to stand out amongst all the themed AirBnBs and capsule hotels already available in the country’s capital city. Train Hostel Hokutosei, however, has done exactly that, with a new take on the regular dormitory setup that allows guests to feel like they’re spending the night on a Japanese train.


To heighten the sense of realism, the hostel uses authentic beds, seats and furnishings from a real sleeper train, the Hokutosei, (which translates to the “Big Dipper” or “Ursa Major” in English), which ran between Tokyo’s Ueno Station and Hokkaido’s Sapporo Station from 1988 until its retirement in August 2015.

▼ The Hokutosei might be off the rails now but it’s still very much alive thanks to its new setup in Tokyo.

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"北斗星が帰ってきた"宿泊施設Train Hostel 北斗星、12月15日OPEN 多くの人に愛され、惜しまれつつも、 運行廃止となって姿を消した寝台列車「北斗星」。 東日本旅客鉄道株式会社・株式会社ジェイアール東日本都市開発様のご協力のもと、宿泊施設として「北斗星」を再現するというアイデアが実現しました。 東日本エリアへの旅の拠点として、Train Hostel(トレインホステル)北斗星の新しい出発とともに、皆様の旅を力強くサポートします。 (Train Hostel 北斗星ホームページより) 2015年8月、ファンや旅行客に惜しまれつつ引退した、ブルートレイン北斗星。 JR東日本では、この引退した寝台特急北斗星用24系客車に使用されていた2段ベッドや、個室寝台、通路の折り畳み椅子、デッキにあった洗面所の鏡などできる限りの部品を再利用し"北斗星"をほうふつとする客室に仕上げました。 1泊2,500円~というリーズナブルなお値段で寝台列車気分を、しかも東京で味わえるというのはなかなかない機会でしょう。 普通に考えれば、狭いベッド・プライバシーの保ちにくいこの空間は窮屈に感じるものですが、北斗星の雰囲気・世界を再現した空間に、逆に、このお値段で宿泊できることには鉄道ファンにとっては穴場スポットとも言えます。 Train Hostel 北斗星 (トレインホステル北斗星)は、12月15日OPENです。 #寝台特急 #北斗星 #ブルートレイン #TrainHostel北斗星 #鉄道 #鉄道ファン #電車 #JR #国鉄

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The train hostel uses authentic fittings from the railroad vehicle to recreate all the atmosphere of setting out on a grand train ride as soon as you step inside the door. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a sign at the reception area once used onboard the limited express when it was in operation.

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来た! #trainhostel北斗星

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The floor guide inside the seven-storey building has been cleverly designed to look just like the floor guide you would see at a Japanese train station. Alongside the guest rooms are a shared lounge and kitchen, a meeting room, laundry and shower room.

The shared kitchen area is also decked out in train-themed finery, and even runs a film showing the beloved Hokutosei Limited Express on one of its 16-and-a-half-hour journeys to the snowy land of Hokkaido.

▼ Guests can stay in semi-private rooms, which include a desk and chair….

▼ Or on bunks in shared dormitory areas.

▼ The entire dormitory room itself is set out like an actual train.

With 78 single beds on the premises, there are a number of differently coloured decors and styles to choose from.

Decorative elements create an atmospheric environment to lull train-loving guests into a peaceful slumber as they journey to the land of dreams.

The only thing missing is the sound of the rails and the rocking motion of the carriage!

A stay at Train Hostel Hokutosei, which opened on 15 December, starts at a reasonable 2,500 yen (US$21.28) per person per night, with bookings until 28 February currently available online at their official website.

Now that we’ve got a train hostel and a bookstore hostel in the city, we can’t wait to see what other unusual accommodation options will pop up for guests in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games!

Hostel information
Train Hostel Hokutosei / Train Hostel 北斗星
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi, Bakurochō 1-10-12
Website (English)

Sources: Facebook/Train Hostel Hokutosei, JR East Press Release
Featured image: Instagram/mr.dimer
Insert image: Train Hostel Hokutosei