Overnight express train Cassiopeia, very popular overnight train between Tokyo and Sapporo

Cassiopeia is most popular overnight train in Japan.Overnight Trains
Cassiopeia is most popular overnight train in Japan.
Cassiopeia is most popular overnight train in Japan.

Cassiopeia is most popular overnight train in Japan.

*This train was discontinued in March 2016.

Cassiopeia is operated between Ueno and Sapporo. This train is like Japanese version Oriental Express and is the most luxurious in three luxurious overnight trains (other two are Twilight Express and Hokutosei) in Japan.

If you want to take this train by Japan Rail Pass, you need to pay some extra charges. You have to pay Limited Express surcharge and the accommodation fee. And also this train goes through non Japan Railway line between Morioka and Aomori. So you have to pay the basic fare for this non Japan Railway line. Even though you have to pay lots of the extra on Japan Rail Pass, many Japan Rail Pass user are interesting in this train. So I tell you that the extra cost, timetable, checking the availability and the types of accommodations.

Extra charges for Japan Rail Pass user

Japan Rail Pass cover only basic fare on Japan Railway. So you have to pay these extra charges.

Extra basic fare: 5,330 yen (for non Japan Railway line between Morioka and Aomori)
Extra express surcharge: 2,940 yen (between Ueno or Omiya and any stations in Hokkaido)

And also you have to pay the accommodation fee. Please see the next chapter.

Types of Accommodation

Welcome drink for Cassiopeia Suite and Cassiopeia Deluxe

Cassiopeia Suite with View

  • Rate: 25,490 yen per person, based on two persons.
  • TV, clock, private shower, private washroom, welcome drink (a bottle of wine, a small bottle of whiskey, water and soft drink), coffee, Yukata (Japanese night wear), bath towel, facial towel
  • There is only one room in the train. This room has a huge glass window. It is so hard to get this room.
  • Images:

    These following images are facilities. Cassiopeia Suite, Maisonette type has same as these things.

Cassiopeia Suite, maisonette

  • Rate: 25,490 yen per person, based on two persons.
  • TV, clock, private shower, private washroom, welcome drink (a bottle of wine, a small bottle of whiskey, water and soft drink), coffee, Yukata (Japanese night wear), bath towel, facial towel
  • There are six rooms in the train. This room is two levels. The first floor is the bedroom and the second floor is the living. The extra bed can be put in the living room and can be used for 3 persons. The extra charge for third person is 13,350 yen.
  • Images:

Cassiopeia Deluxe

  • Rate: 17,180 yen per person, based on two persons.
  • TV, clock, private shower, private washroom, welcome drink (a bottle of wine, a small bottle of whiskey, water and soft drink), coffee, Yukata (Japanese night wear), bath towel, facial towel
  • There is only one room in the train. This room is one level suite and has a higher ceiling than Cassiopeia Suite maisonette. The sofa can be converted to the extra bed and can be used for 3 persons. The extra charge for third person is 9.540 yen.
  • Images:

Cassiopeia Twin (double decker)

  • Rate: 13,350 yen per person, based on two persons.
  • TV, clock, private washroom, welcome drink (soft drink), coffee, Yukata (Japanese night wear), facial towel (No private shower in the room. need to use the shared shower room at 310 yen for 6 minutes.)
  • This type of rooms are main stream in this train. This is like a standard twin room. These rooms are in the double decker car. Those rooms are located at the both lower level and higher level. But some of these rooms are located at the single level of this train. A few of these rooms at single level can be used for 3 persons. The extra charge for third person is 9.540 yen.
  • Images (Lower floor):
  • Images (Upper floor):
  • Images (located at single level):
  • Images (Triple type):
  • Images (Facilities):

Cassiopeia Compart

  • Rate: 22,890 yen per room, based on two persons.
  • TV, clock, private washroom, welcome drink (soft drink), coffee, Yukata (Japanese night wear), facial towel (No private shower in the room. need to use the shared shower room at 310yen for 6 minutes.)
  • This room is designed for the handicapped person. We only have one room in the train
  • Images:

Train Formation

123456789101112
CSV/CSMCSM/CDXDCC/CTCTCTCTCTCTCTCTL

*CSV=Cassiopeia Suite with View CSM=Cassiopeia Suite Maisonette CDX=Cassiopeia Deluxe CT=Cassiopeia Twin CC=Cassiopeia Compart D=Dining Car L=Lounge Car
*Smoking is permitted on Car#2, 3, 5, 6 and 11.

Dining Car / Lounge Car

Meal is not included in the rate. And the reservation for dinner must be done by 23:00 on three days prior to the departure date. But simply you can make a reservation at the same time as booking for the room. You can choose Kaiseki Gozen (懐石御膳=Traditional Japanese style cuisine) or French four course. Japanese dinner is 5,500 yen. French course is 7,800 yen. And also you have to choose dinner time from 17:15-18:15 or 18:30-19:50 or 20:10-21:30. Dining car is the pub after 20:30. You don’t need to make a reservation.

If you take Cassiopeia Suite or Cassiopeia Deluxe, Room service is available for only the first dining time, 17:15-18:15. And Also you can choose Cassiopeia Tokusei Bento (カシオペア特製弁当=Cassiopeia Special Dinner Box) at 3,500 yen. Of courese you need to order this dinner box three days before the boarding.

You don’t need to make a reservation for the breakfast. They open at 06:30. They have Japanese style and Western style. Both breakfast are same price at 1,600 yen.

They sell regular dinner box (Japanese Bento, Sandwich and so on) and drinks. If you cannot make a reservation for the dining car, you still can get something to eat. Of course you can get something before boarding.

Image (Dining car interior) :

Image (Pub time menu) :

Image (Breakfast menu) :

Image (Cassiopeia Bento) :

Lounge car is open for the public. You can enjoy the view through the panoramic glass windows. You can see the iamges of Dining car and Lounge car here on JR East website.

And also smoking is not permitted in Lounge car, but it is permitted in and dining car. Please don’t upset that!
*Since March 17, 2012, smoking is not permitted in both dining car and lounge car.

Image (Lounge car) :

Image (Public washroom) :

Image (Shared shower room) :

Reservation and space availability

It is very difficult for Japan Rail Pass user to make a booking. Because you cannot make a reservation online. All you can do is going to the station to take it. Japan Railway starts to sell the ticket 30 days prior to the departure date. Most of Japan Rail Pass user start to use the pass right after arrival. So if you have a plan to take this train, you need to think about the back up plan. You have to expect that you won’t be able to make it!

*If you have a friend who speaks Japanese, you can ask to make a call to JR West odekake net at 078-341-7903. This reservation center can take a reservation for all JR trains. However you need to pay surcharge and accommodation fee. Japan Rail Pass do not cover any surcharge and accommodation fee on overnight trains. So it is not a big issue. And also you have to pick up your ticket in JR West, Shikoku or Kyushu’s stations. You cannot pick up ticket in other areas, like Tokyo, Niigata, Aomori, Hokkaido.

But you can check the availability online. Please access this page on JR East website. It is in Japanese but it is not complicated. You will see like this table.

曜日上野発札幌発
117O
18O
19O
20
21
22X
23

From left to right, Month (月), Day (日), Week-day (曜日), Departure from Ueno (上野発), Departure from Sapporo (札幌発). So the second row means January 17, Monday. Cassiopeia is not operated from Ueno to Sapporo. So you see “-“. On the other hand, you see “O” from Sapporo. It means that lots of rooms are still available. Please see the sixth row. You see “△” departure from Ueno. It means almost sold out. If you see “X”, it means completely sold out. Please check in last minutes before you depart from your country.

Operation dates will be different after March 14, 2015. Please find it at Schedule of 2015 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways. I wrote the dates until September, 2015.

But you need to think about alternative in case that you cannot make it. If you need any ideas about a back up plan, please refer the post, Alternatives of overnight train Cassiopeia and Hokutosei. I suggest several itineraries.

Timetable

Timetable will be different after March 14, 2015. Please find it at Schedule of 2015 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways. I wrote the dates until September, 2015.

station/directionUeno to SapporoSapporo to Ueno
Ueno (上野)16:2009:25
Omiya (大宮)16:4509:00
Utsunomiya (宇都宮)17:5007:50
Koriyama (郡山)19:1306:15
Fukushima (福島)19:5205:36
Sendai (仙台)20:5904:33
Ichinoseki (一ノ関)22:08
Morioka (盛岡)23:16
Hakodate (函館)05:0221:12
Mori (森)05:5220:18
Yakumo (八雲)06:1819:51
Oshamanbe (長万部)06:4319:15
Toya (洞爺)07:1318:42
date-Monbetsu (伊達紋別)07:2518:28
Higashi-Muroran (東室蘭)07:4417:57
Noboribetsu (登別)08:0017:37
Tomakomai (苫小牧)08:3317:06
Minami-Chitose (南千歳)08:5516:46
Sapporo (札幌)09:3216:12

Comments

  1. cindy says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I have a question and hope you can help me

    1. Where is the station in Tokyo to book/buy the Cassiopeia ticket?

    Thank in advance
    Cindy

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail says:

      HI Cindy,

      Any JR station that has Midori no Madoguchi (reservation window) can take care of it. In downtown Tokyo, all stations have this window.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. Hi Takeshi-san

    I have managed to get the cassiopeia ticket, yay! =p even though it is not the suite one.
    I am trying to find any info on where to board the cassiopeia in Ueno station (which side, etc) but cannot find it. Would you be able to help?

    Thanks a lot.

  3. meowieflea – Singapore
    Lynette says:

    Hi Takeshi / JP Rail,

    Quick questions:

    1. I am aware that not smoking is not allowed in the restaurant car. Is smoking permitted in the cars?

    2. How is the booking procedures like? It seems like it is almost impossible to book it.

    3. Where do I make the booking?

    Look forward to hear from you.

    Warm Regards,
    Lynette

  4. Dear Takeshi-san

    Thank you very much for your helpful information.
    Do you have any trips and tricks on the most likely days/months to get icket? Or is it super hard all year ) ? I read on the web any weekdays is better? Is it true? i am planning to see the snow festival, but I guess on these dates the chance of getting the tickets would be very small. Any suggestion? E.g 3 days after the snow festival?
    So as an alternative I am planning to go on early/mid March instead hoping I will have more luck. Is it weekend And weekdays really make a difference?

    Thank you

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail says:

      Hi Crescendolls,

      Of course weekday is easier than weekend. As you expect, the period during Snow Festival is the busiest. I say it’s impossible.
      If you are okay with regular twin (Cassiopeia twin), the chance is getting bigger. But if you want to get Suite or Maisonette, your friend must go to the reservation window 5 minutes prior to 10:00 and ask station staff to submit reservation at 10:00 sharp. These tickets are sold out in one second. (not one minute)

      Actually other compartments are hard to book too. If you go for regular twin at 10:00 am sharp, it’s still hard but much easier than Suite.

      I tried to book Hokutosei that runs same route as Cassiopeia. I tried to book single room at 10:05 am, I could not make it. It was in mid March and not peak season. But it was so hard.

      Is any Japanese travel agent near your place? If so, they may be able to book it for you. Of course they charge handling fee. But major travel agent have own block space for their package product.

      Sorry but actually there is no useful tips. Many local tourist try to book Cassiopeia at 10:00 am sharp everyday.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Hi,
    I have some questions and hoping that you can help me:
    1. For booking in advance does it mean that I only can book 30 days prior the departure date or purhase 30 days prior the departure date? as I have a friend in Japan who can help me book the ticket.
    2. If I have a JR Pass can I use it? considering that my friend that will book the tickets ( I thinking on the benefit of purchasing JR Pass as I will travel most in Hokkaido but I will arrive and depart from Tokyo)
    3. I have a daugther of 6 years old and I will travel with my husband can we use just only 1 room in Cassiopeia? (e.g. Suite or Maisonette, with luck =p)

    Thank you very much in advance

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail says:

      Hi crescendolls,

      1. You can purchase it after 30 days prior to departure date.
      For example, if you take a train on Dec 11, ticket will be on sale at 10:00 am on Nov 11.

      2. It’s okay for Cassiopeia. Because JR Pass cover only base fare when you take Cassiopeia. You don’t need to purchase when you book it for Cassiopeia. But for other daytime trains, you or your friend must have JR Pass. Otherwise you have to pay limited express surcharge that is covered by JR Pass.

      3. All three of your family member can stay in same room. Technically it’s allowed in all compartments. If you can get Suite or Maisonette, it’s spacious for three. But other rooms have only 80cm width bed. It’s not realistic to share the bed with 6 years old kid.
      If you ask your friend, he/she must be ready to book at 10:00 am sharp at the window. Otherwise it’s no chance. Cassiopeia is very very popular. Even regular compartment is very hard to book. Suite and Maisonette are super hard. It’s usually sold out right after on sale.

      Good luck.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. […] Hokutosei or Cassiopeia overnight train from Tokyo to […]

  7. daniel says:

    good afternoon and sorry for trouble
    expected travel next year japan and use night trains
    we use 21 jr pass and we want coming back from sapporo to okayama
    we ll be 4 adults same family
    and want take night train
    so
    1/ have yu a family rate
    2/ with jr pass;; how much is it in more for sleepers
    3/is it possible to book a full compatment for my wife me and my 2 children
    4/where i can find schedules;; because hyperdia have some difficulties to find sleepers trains
    5/ is it possible to book at tokyo at jr desk or i must book for france
    6/if i must book in france;; which is internet site

    hoping request ll be taken in consideration
    tks a lot for yr help and kindness
    regards
    daniel

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail says:

      Hi Daniel,

      Please see the answers for your questions below:

      1. No. Only regular fare is applied. If you share the bed with kids, you don’t need to pay accommodation fee for kids.
      2. Please see the post above. All rates is additional on top of JR Pass.
      3. Actually it is super hard to book this train. I explain below.
      4. Please see the post above.
      5. Only way to book is JR reservations window in Japan.
      6. There is no online site available.

      So this train is almost impossible to book individually from overseas. Actually it is very hard to book for even local people in Japan. If you really want to take this train, you have to find the travel agent in France. But most of travel agents do not want to book only JR tickets because of low profit. If you ask them train, air ticket and hotel, they may handle it.

      If you can’t fine any travel agents, I recommend you to give up to take this train. It is too popular to book.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  8. Eliza says:

    Hi,
    Love your website, learnt so much from postings.

    It looks like it’s almost impossible to book the twilight express train from Sapporo to Osaka. So is it easier to book Cassiopeia instead? I will arrive Tokyo on 10 Sept, and want to book Cassiopeia on 17 Sept. And once I arrive Ueno, how easy for me to travel from there to Osaka by using JP Rail pass? Thanks a lot for your advice.

    Eliza

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail says:

      Hi Eliza,

      Thanks for your comment about my website. 🙂

      That’s right. Twilight is impossible to book now. Some of travel agent do not accept to book for Twilight. All seats are sold out in one second after on sale.

      On the other hand, Cassiopeia is easier than Twilight. However Cassiopeia is difficult too. Usually all compartments are sold out right after on sale. You can find booking status at the link below:
      http://www.jreast.co.jp/cassiopeia/reserve/index.html
      ○ available △ almost sold out × completely sold out

      As you see, mostly it’s sold out.
      If you want to try, you can go ahead. If you are okay with regular berth, you may be able to book B berth of Hokutosei. You can find the status at the link below:
      http://mobile.jrhokkaido.co.jp/web/vacancy/index.asp?area=6&ch=0

      After arriving Ueno, just take local train to Tokyo. It’s only 4 stations away to get Tokyo from Ueno. You can get Shinkansen there.

      If you take overnight trains, you can save your time. However JR Pass does not cover accommodation fee and surcharge. The cost will be higher than staying hotel.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  9. John says:

    Hi is it possible to not pay for the accommodation and just stay in the lounge car?

  10. June says:

    Hi! I will be in Hokkaido in June and would like to take the sleeper train from Hakodate to tokyo. May i knw how i could purchase the tickets if i do not want to buy the hokkaido jr pass?

    also. if i purchase the jr pass, will it be too late to make a reservation at the counters in hokkaido 12 days before i would like to use the ticket ?

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