Due to the high-speed that people can travel around Japan by bullet trains and increasing competition from low-cost airlines and cheaper overnight buses, the number of night trains in Japan has decreased dramatically. However, there are still a number of them operating on the main island of Honshu and even services linking to Shikoku and Hokkaido.
Seats on night trains are covered by the JR pass (please note that note all night trains have seats), but it does not cover shared or private compartments. You have to pay for these separately and also pay for the (limited) express fee of around 3,000 yen and in some instances, other fees.
The most popular night travel for travellers tends to be the Hokutosei and Cassiopeia trains that run from Ueno station in Tokyo to Sapporo in Hokkaido. You can find out more about these trains here
Other night trains are:
- Hanamasu (Aomori-Sapporo) – Covered by JR Pass
- Akebono (Ueno-Aomori) – Covered by JR Pass
- Moonlight Echigo (Shinjuku-Niigata)
- Moonlight Shinshu (Shinjuku-Matsumoto)
- Twilight Express (Osaka-Sapporo)
- Nihonkai (Osaka-Aomori)
- Kitaguni (Osaka-Niigata) – Covered by JR Pass
- Moonlight Nagawa (Tokyo-Ohgaki)
- Sunrise Izumo (Tokyo-Okayama-Izumo) – Covered by JR Pass
- Sunrise Seto (Tokyo-Okayama- Takamatsu) – Covered by JR Pass
You can make reservations for night trains at JR tickets offices. For more information visit, www.japan-guide.com.