Save time and money! Learn more about Overnight Trains. Which overnight train can we take with no extra charge by JR Pass?

Limited Express
Overnight train Hamanasu runs between Aomori and Sapporo. It is very useful train to get Hokkaido. But it may be discontinued when Hokkaido Shiknansen open.
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Overnight train Hamanasu runs between Aomori and Sapporo. It is very useful train to get Hokkaido. But it may be discontinued when Hokkaido Shiknansen open.

Overnight train Hamanasu runs between Aomori and Sapporo. It is very useful train to get Hokkaido. But it may be discontinued when Hokkaido Shiknansen open.

Japan Railways have operated many overnight trains before. But in these days, many of those overnight train services were discontinued. Now the choice is very limited.

The list of overnight trains

Japan Rail Pass does not cover any accommodation fee for overnight trains. Most of overnight trains have berth and bedroom. So if you want to take this train, you have to pay extra for this accommodation on top of JR Pass. But these following trains have an accommodation that you can take by Japan Rail Pass without any extra charge. Please find more details on each page of trains.

Limited Express Sunrise Seto and Sunrise Izumo

“Seto” runs between Tokyo and Takamatsu and “Izumo” runs between Tokyo and Izumoshi. These trains run as coupled between Tokyo and Okayama. Those trains offer Nobi Nobi seat which is very simple berth. This Nobi Nobi seat is covered by JR pass fully. Please see the links below to learn more:

Overnight train to/from Tokyo and Takamatsu via Okayama, Sunrise Seto. JR Pass user can take with no extra charge!

Overnight train to/from Tokyo and Izumoshi via Okayama, Sunrise Izumo. JR Pass user can take with no extra charge!

Rapid Moonlight Nagara

This train is operated as a seasonal train. It usually runs in spring break, summer break and winter break. These periods are mostly same as Seishun 18 Kippu sales period.

Seishun 18 kippu, Unlimilited ride deal of local and rapid trains on all JR lines

Therefore the train is mostly packed by Seishun 18 Kippu holders. Please see the link below to find more information about Moonlight Nagara.

Save money and time to go to Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka from Tokyo by train. Overnight rapid train Moonlight Nagara

Rapid Moonlight Shinshu 81

This is another seasonal train. It usually runs in same period as Moonlight Nagara. But in most of season, the number of trips is smaller than Moonlight Nagara. This train runs from Shinjuku to Matsumoto. There is no trains to Shinjuku from Matsumoto.

Reservation for overnight train

Actually this is a big issue. There is no online booking available. You have to book a seat after you arrive in Japan. That means you may not be able to get a space. You must have a back up plan if you use overnight train in your trip plan.

Comments

  1. chua says:

    dear sir,
    I would like to go to hakodate on 27 Nov 2015 from Ueno / Ikebukuro. Is there any night train with reserved seat still available?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Chua,

      I think all overnight trains between Tokyo and Hokkaido will be discontinued by this October.
      At this point, only Cassiopeia will run in September and have not announced about schedule after October. But I think it will be done at the end of September. In next March, Hokkaido Shinkansen will open. Test run and inspection have already been started and it will be increased in this coming fall. There is no space for overnight train run in that section.

      I recommend you to use daytime train in your plan.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. chrissy says:

    Hi

    Trying to get to osaka from narita about 22.00pm, traveling in august.

    • Hi chrissy,

      It’s very risky. There are overnight bus services from Tokyo to Osaka.
      http://willerexpress.com/en/#

      But mostly bus depart by 00:30. If you arrive Narita at 22:00, you will spend 1 hour to go through custom and immigration. And then you will spend at least one hour to get Tokyo. I think it’s almost impossible. If your flight will be delayed, you will miss the bus and you have to find the place to stay there. I think you should stay in Tokyo on arrival day.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  3. Jessie Low says:

    Hi, this is my first time to Japan and I have bought the JR Pass. I would like to how to travel from Haneda to Mt. Esa using this pass.

  4. Thair says:

    Hi;
    I am planning to travel from Nagasaki to Tokyo on a Night-train, although I am having a JR pass, but I am still confused about what else do I need to pay to compensate for having a train at night?!

    Many thanks
    Thair

  5. Mary says:

    Hi Takeshi -san,

    We appreciate yr comments and information .
    We will be travelling to Sapporo in Mid-Sept 2012, it is a peak season?
    1) we want to know how to reserve overnight train from Sapporo Station to Tokyo Station by using JR pass at no extra charges., which Ltd Express train to take?
    2) Can we do reservation at the JR Pass counter and collect the ticket immediately?

    Thank you.

    Mary

  6. Yoon says:

    So, if I want to book for the carpet car or the Nobinobi seat of Hamanasu, Sunrise Seto/Izumo, or Akebono before the start date of the JR pass, (which means that if i want to make a reservation before get to Japan,) that means that I have to pay for the charge of Reserved seat fee?
    Best regards

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Yoon,
      That’s right. Nobody book it except JR West Odekake net. They don’t take JR Pass reservation. So you need to pay reserved seat fee. And also you have to contact them in Japanese and need to have a contact in Japan.
      Cheers,
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. dill says:

    Hi, I just want to confirm. Niihonkai stops at Niitsu station and from there I can ride it to go to Akita station right?

    thanks!

    • JPRail says:

      Hi dill,
      Nihonkai stops at Niitsu. But it is 01:33am. And also it arrives Akita at 05:32am.
      Nihonkai has only sleeper class. Even though you take Nihonkai for short ride, you need to reserve sleeper class and pay extra. (Ltd Express charge 2600yen+sleeper 6300yen).
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  8. Robert Sneddon says:

    The Kitaguni is a useful alternative to the Sunrise Seto if you can’t book a nobi-nobi berth for the night you want to travel. If you are heading south to Kansai from Tokyo you can catch the late-night Toki 377 shinkansen from Tokyo (21:20) or Ueno (21:26) up to Nagaoka station arriving there at 23:03 and board the Kitaguni which departs at 23:56. Similarly if you want to travel to Tokyo overnight from Osaka or Kyoto then you can ride the Kitaguni up to Nagaoka where it arrives at 07:14 and catch the early-morning Max Toki 304 (07:24) which should get you into Tokyo around 09:16. It’s not as comfortable as a nobi-nobi but it’s still all covered by a JR pass.

  9. Robert Sneddon says:

    Here’s a link to an album of pictures of the Kitaguni train that runs overnight between Osaka and Niigata. The free seats for JR pass holders are not reserved. They are bench seats, not too comfortable but riding the Kitaguni saved me several daylight hours of travel and the price of a hotel room.

    In the morning the train stops at several small stations and picks up commuters before it arrives in Niigata so it can get a bit crowded then. When I travelled (April 2010) it was not busy overnight.

    http://s231.photobucket.com/albums/ee12/nojay_photo/Kitaguni%20train/

    • JPRail says:

      Thanks for the images. It reminds me the trip 15 years ago.
      Kitagni is only trains that is operated by 583 series. This train is so old and wan born in 1968! It is like a vintage. That’s why it is crazy popular in Japanese rail buff.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  10. Ken says:

    Hi, is it true that the Dream Nichirin is going to be cancelled on March?

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