Overnight Express Train Twilight Express, most popular overnight train between Osaka and Sapporo

Overnight Express train Twilight ExpressHakodate, Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Overnight Express train Twilight Express
***Twilight Express was discontinued in 12 March, 2015. There is no overnight train option between Osaka and Hokkaido any more.***

Overnight Express train Twilight Express

Twilight Express is operated between Osaka and Sapporo. This is the longest service operation train in Japan. It takes more than 22 hours to reach Sapporo from Osaka. (If you take other way, it takes 22 hours 45 minutes.)

When you use a berth or a bedroom, Japan Rail Pass does not cover any accommodation charges and even Limited Express surcharge either. Even though you have to pay lots of the extra on Japan Rail Pass, the experience on board will be worthy. First class hospitality, the beautiful scenery and the sunset on the Sea of Japan, will be very memorable moment in your trip.

Anyway I tell you that the extra cost, timetable, checking the availability and the types of accommodations.

*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images below.

Time table and Route

This train is not operated everyday. It is operated on Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat to Sapporo, and on Tue, Thu, Sat and Sun to Osaka. But it is operated everyday during the peak season (mid August, New year holidays) .


station/directionOsaka to SapporoSapporo to Osaka
Osaka (大阪)11:5012:52
Shin-Osaka (新大阪)11:5612:47
Kyoto (京都)12::3512:15
Tsuruga (敦賀)13:4810:36
Fukui (福井)14:4009:54
Kanazawa (金沢)15:4008:49
Takaoka (高岡)16:1408:18
Toyama (富山)16:3108:01
Naoetsu (直江津)17:5906:27
Nagaoka (長岡)18:5805:29
Niitsu (新津)19:3904:40
Toya (洞爺)07:1816:33
Higashi-Muroran (東室蘭)07:5215:50
Noboribetsu (登別)008:1115:34
Tomakomai (苫小牧)08:5015:00
Minami-Chitose (南千歳)09:1014:39
Sapporo (札幌)09:5214:05

View Twilight Express in a larger map

Types of accommodation and extra charges

Japan Rail Pass cover only basic fare when you take overnight accommodation. So you have to pay these extra charges.

Extra express surcharge: 3,150 yen (between Osaka or Shin-Osaka or Kyoto and any stations in Hokkaido)

And also you have to pay the accommodation fee. Please refer the below informations.

Train Formation


*STE=Suite RYL=Royal TW=Twin Deluxe ST=Single Twin D=Dining Car “Diner Pleiades” SL=Salon Car “Salon Du Nord” B=”B compart”
*Smoking is permitted on all cars except the dinner time in Dining Car.


  • Rate: 50,980 yen per room, based on two persons.
  • TV, audio, clock, in-room shower, in-room washroom, dryer, power outlet, fridge, welcome drink (choose from a bottle of wine, a small bottle of whiskey, coffee or tea), morning drink (choose from coffee or tea), Yukata (Japanese night wear), bath towel, facial towel

There are only two rooms in the train. One of two rooms is located at the end of the train in car#1. It has a huge panoramic window. Especially when you go to Sapporo, this room is at the end of the train formation. You can see very dramatic view. (But if you travel from Sapporo to Osaka, this room is just behind the locomotive.) The other room is located in car#2. This room has a huge glass window to the ceiling. And it has separated shower and washroom. Since these rooms are very popular, hard to get it.

Images of Room at the end of the train in car#1

Images of Room in car#2


  • Rate: 17,180 yen per person, based on one person.
  • TV, audio, clock, private shower, private washroom, welcome drink (choose from a bottle of wine, a small bottle of whiskey, coffee or tea), morning drink (choose from coffee or tea), Yukata (Japanese night wear), bath towel, facial towel

There are eight rooms in the train. But it is also very hard to get it because these rooms are very popular. These rooms can be used for 2 persons. The extra charge for second person is 9.450 yen.



  • Rate: 16,320 yen per room, based on two persons.
  • Audio, Yukata (Japanese night wear)

There are 23 rooms in the train. This type of room has upper and lower berth. This room does not have a washroom in the room.


Single Twin

  • Rate: 9,170 yen per room, based on one person.
  • Audio, Yukata (Japanese night wear)

There are 12 rooms in this train. This room is designed for one person and can be used for 2. This is a reason why it has very strange name. The extra charge for second person is 5,250 yen.


B Compart

  • Rate: 6,300 yen per person.
  • Yukata (Japanese night wear)

This is not a real compartment. It is very similar to the regular berth. Every compartments have 4 beds and have a sliding door. But it cannot be locked. So if you travel as the party of four, you can get a minimum privacy for your group.


Dining Car “Diner Pleiades” and Salon Car “Salon Du Nord”

Dining car “Diner Pleiades” gives you the fine dining experience. Meal is not included in the rate and the reservation for dinner must be done by five days prior to the departure date. You can choose the dining time, 17:30-19:00 or 19:30-21:00. Simply you can make a reservation at the same time as booking for the room. You can choose “The Sea of Japan Kaiseki Gozen (日本海懐石御膳=Traditional Japanese style cuisine)” at 6,000 yen or French cuisine five course at 12,000 yen. But you cannot take the Sea of Japan Kaiseki Gozen in the dining room. If you take Japanese cuisine, the dinner will be delivered to your room, or you can have your dinner at Salon car “Salon Du Nord”.

Images of Dining car “Diner Pleiades”

Images of French dinner

*Dinner menu is changed very frequently. You can see the most updated menu and Japanese Kaiseki menu at JR West Food Service website (in Japanese only).

Dining car gives you the service as the pub between 21:00 and 23:00. You don’t need to make a reservation. You can drink and eat some small plates, such as cheese plate, smoked salmon, rice pilaf.

Images of Pub time menu

Breakfast is available 6:00 am (from Sapporo at 6:45 am) to 9:00 am. You can make a reservation after boarding. You can choose Japanese style or Western style, and also choose the time from 6:00 (only from Osaka to Sapporo), 6:45, 7:30 and 8:15.

Images of western breakfast menu

If you take the train to Sapporo, Dining car gives you the lunch too. They serve a light meal, such as curry rice, pasta, beef stew, deep fried prawn and omelet rice. Reservation is not necessary.

They sell regular dinner box and drinks. And also you can eat a light meal in the Pub time. 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.

There is a beautiful lounge space for the public on car#4. It is called “Salon Du Nord”. All seats face to Sea of Japan. If you travel from Osaka in sunny day, you can see the dramatic sunset on Sea of Japan. This must be the most memorable moment in your trip. You can have your Japanese Kaiseki or regular box meal or even pub menu here in this lounge.

Images of “Salon Du Nord”

There is small salon space on car#7.

Images of Mini Salon

*Smoking is NOT permitted in both lounge space and dining car.

Other facilities

There are some public sanitary spaces from car#4 to car#9. The shared shower rooms and the public phone are located on car#4. If you want to use the shower room, you need to buy a shower card at dining car and secure your time. It costs 310yen for 6 minutes to use shower. But you have 30 minutes for using the space.

Images of sanitary spaces

Images of shower rooms and other facilities

Reservation and space availability

It is very difficult for Japan Rail Pass user to make a booking. Because you cannot make a reservation online. And also lots of tour operator block many spaces on this train for their domestic package tour product. If you give up to use Japan Rail Pass and you can understand Japanese or have a friend in Japan, you can contact to JR West reservation center directly. One of my readers, Tak gave me very useful infomation. He told us how to do it. I would like to share this information with you.

Personally, I have tried JR West telephone reservation center to buy Twilight express ticket.
I can tell you how to reserve on the phone.
1.Call JR west call center +81-78-341-7903 to make reservation from your country. (Only Japanese)
2. If the seat is available, pay by credit card.
3. When you arrive Japan, go to Midorino madoguchi. Show your credit card and you can collect the ticket from any JR west station.

They don’t have this service for JR pass, but I think it is useful for Twilight express because you need to pay for the Express and sleeper tickets anyway. Tak added some more information for Japan Rail Pass user. This way maybe useful for Japan Rail Pass user who can speak Japanese.

Actually, you don’t need to give up your JR pass when you make reservation by phone. I bought only limited express ticket (特急券) and sleeper ticket (寝台券) by phone reservation. I can take Twilight using JR pass with the tickets bought in advance.
If you go to Midori no Madoguchi and ask for Twilight using JR pass, they will charge for express and sleeper surchages (特急券 and 寝台券). So, this works perfectly when you make reservation
using this service.

When you use this service, please don’t forget you can pick up only from JR West station.

Please see this website for details.

If you cannot do this way, all you can do is going to “Midori no Mdoguchi (みどり窓口=ticket reservation window) at the station to take it. Japan Railway starts to sell the ticket at 10:00 am on 1 month prior to the departure date.

ex) If you take the train on April 1, the ticket is started to sell at 10:00 am on March 1.

Most of Japan Rail Pass user start to use the pass right after arrival. But actually most of people who wants to take this train in Japan do not decide the date. They take the ticket whenever they can make it. (Then they try to get the vacation…) Especially Suite and Royal room are almost impossible to get it after you arrive in Japan. Usually these two types of rooms are sold out just a few second after the tickets are started to sell. If you really really want to take this train, try to take this from Sapporo to Osaka. Mostly this direction is easier to reserve a ticket than Osaka to Sapporo direction. However if you have a plan to take this train, you need to think about the back up plan anyway. If you want to make sure which you can do it or not, use your local travel agent to make a reservation.

Unfortunately you cannot make any reservations and check the space availability at all either online. If you need any ideas in case that you cannot make a reservations, please refer this post, Alternatives of Overnight train Twilight Express. I suggest you several itineraries there.


  1. Jie says:

    Hi, I would like to ask if it is possible to reserve twilight from Sapporo to Osaka over the phone? I plan to travel with twilight in 20th of September. If yes, when is the earliest time that we can do that? I read from some where that we can buy express and accommodation fee over the phone in advance and then use the JR rail pass later? How does it work?

    I do not speak Japanese but I have a friend who lives in Okinawa and speaks Japanese.

    Many thanks!

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

      Hi Jie,

      Technically JR West Odekake net has English speaking operator and they can book Twilight.
      But they need your address and phone number in Japan. Hotel address is not acceptable. If you can use your friends address, it will be acceptable.

      However actually it is almost no chance to get Twilight now. Since the official announcement has been made that Twilight Express will be discontinued in next spring, the ticket is sold out in less than 5 seconds (may be 1 second) right after on sale everyday. It’s the hardest to book ever in the history so far.

      Even most of Japanese travellers cannot get it. If you use Okdekake net, you cannot be ready at 10:00 am sharp one month prior to departure date (on sale time). Okekake net is always busy and cannot be connected around 10:00 am everyday.

      Sorry for the bad news. But actually I don’t recommend to use this train. I wanted to take this train too. But I gave up. In my opinion, it’s impossible to book it.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. Kent says:

    Dear Takeshi-san,
    This page is very helpful, thank you!
    We are coming to Japan September 2014 and would like to take Twilight Express from Osaka.
    Because 2 of us, would most prefer Twin, or maybe Single-Twin accommodation.
    I think we will be able to make advance bookings by telephone.
    Can you say how quickly accommodations are selling? Are Twins selling out on opening day? Should we be calling at 0950hrs to be in the queue for when bookings open at 10am 1-month ahead? (I have been watching how quickly “Romancecar” front-panorama seats sell out).
    Also, what is the deadline for collecting tickets from JR-West station? Can we collect as late as day of travel if they are booked and paid for?
    Thanking you.

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

      Hi Kent,

      Unfortunately you have very very tiny chance to book any accommodation of Twilight.
      Since JR announced Twilight Express will be stopped in next March, the ticket is sold out very quickly. One of readers has connection with JR reservation window. But all ticket was sold out within 10 seconds. He couldn’t make it. Of course you can try to book through Odekake net of JR West. But you have to ask reservation staff to prepare everything before 10:00 am and just submit at 10:00 am sharp.

      Regarding collect ticket, please refer the following post. You will find info about Odekake net.

      Now Twilight ticket is most difficult ticket to book in Japan. Good luck!


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  3. vanadonai611
    Vanessa says:

    Hi Todd,

    Thank you so much for the info..



  4. […] and headed to the Northern land; the memory of the Seikan tunnel that we travelled through on the Twilight Express last year; those mountains and moutains that greeted us as we neared Hakodate. Hakodate was where […]

  5. vanadonai611
    Vanessa says:


    I was so mesmerized by the Twilight Express I saw last year when I was in Sapporo.

    I would love to travel on it to Sapporo via Osaka in July 2014.

    I do understand that I can only purchase the tickets by phone (Japanese ONLY) & by using a Japan based credit card.

    Unfortunately, I don’t live in Japan and I don’t speak Japanese. Also I don’t have a Japan based credit card.

    Can you please advise me on how can I go about purchasing the tickets?

    I will be travelling to Tokyo in a weeks time.

    Can I buy the tickets from Tokyo instead?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Thank you so much for your attention.

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

      Hi Vanessa,

      You can use your country’s credit card. I always use Canadian credit card. But anyway you have to book it in Japan.
      Actually you can book it at any JR stations that has Midori no Madoguchi (reservation window) throughout Japan. Of course you can book in Tokyo.

      JR announced Twilight Express will be discontinued in next March, 2015. Since then, it’s been harder to book this train. I hope you can make it. This will be the first and the last ride for you.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

      • vanadonai611
        Vanessa says:

        Dear Mr Takeshi,

        Thank you so much for your prompt reply…

        I will be in Osaka in 2 days time…

        I wondered if I can buy the tickets at Osaka-Uehommachi station as I will be staying at Sheraton Miyako hotel…

        Please advise…

        Hope to hear from you soon..

        Thank you for your attention…



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

          Hi Vanessa,

          No, you can’t Uehonmachi is not JR station. The closest JR station is Tsuruhashi which is one station away from Kintetsu Railway.


          Takeshi / JP Rail

          • vanadonai611
            Vanessa says:

            Hi Tekashi,

            Thank you so much for the information given…

            By the way, beside using credit card payment, can I also use cash payment for the twilight Express tickets?

            Please advise..

            Hope to hear from you soon..

            Many thanks..



            • kommissartodd06
              Todd says:

              Hi Vanessa,

              Yes, cash is widely accepted :-). When you arrive enquire at the railway station of your arrival port. If you are arriving at Kansai, ask at the JR Midori-no-Madoguchi at KIX (at the end on the left before the hotel). Narita, ask at the JR Travel Centre in the terminal (the N’EX window will only be able to issue on the day tickets and I think only on N’EX services). Other airports may not have JR window, however if you connect to a JR service and see the Green Reservations sign, enquire at your first chance.

              You will find it very hard to get tickets at the last minute on the Twilight, I had a friend try to purchase tickets on the day sales opened in Japan and not even he could get me on (and that was before they announced they are canning the run). But good luck, I wish you well in your adventure.

              I will be trying again for the next time I am there but I don’t like my chances.



  6. irvandiarga
    Arga says:

    Hello Takeshi.

    I have a question about this overnight train.
    Can I use seishuun 18 kippu to eliminate the base fare?
    So I just need to pay express surcharge fee and lodge fee.
    The same as when I use JR pass or use 18 kippu at ltd express train.

    Thank you so much before.

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

      Hi Arga,

      Unfortunately you can’t use 18 kippu for any express train. Even though you add express surcharge, you can’t use 18 kippu. You have to pay full fare.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. teta says:


    I am planning to go to sapporo from osaka this october 2014 and i wanna ask you some question. What is the difference between basic fare and accommodation fee? Is it same? And if i dont want to use JR Pass, how much the total cost?

  8. […] Getting There Cheap Airlines operating between Tokyo and Hokkaido: Peach Aviation or Air DO Night Train Osaka-Sapporo: Twilight Express […]

  9. jenny tan says:


    My friend and I are going Japan on 30 April 2014. I plan to go Hokkaido on 1 May 2014 from Osaka and come back to Osaka on 6 May using Twilight train. I am interested to know the details on how I can get someone in Japan to reserve seats for us before we arrive in Japan. We will purchase JR passes from my home country, Malaysia.

    Please let me know how I can get my friend in Japan to reserve all seats in Shinkasen especially Shinkansen Hayate and Express Hamanasu before I arrive in Japan.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Thank you so much.


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

      Hi Jenny,

      If you have already had a friend in Japan, you can ask to book a ticket instead of you. Train ticket is not like a flight ticket. Once get a ticket, anyone can use it.

      If you don’t have any friend or connection in Japan, you can’t use this way. The only wan to book is travel agent. But most of travel agent don’t want to book a ticket because of low profit.

      I understand you want to get Twilight Express. But even if you have a friend in Japan, it’s super hard to book compartment.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  10. kommissartodd06
    Todd says:

    Thank you for your insight into the Twilight Express! Am hoping to travel on this train in early October from Sapporo, my friend in Japan is going to purchase tickets for me at JR Hakata on the day of first sale so hopefully I am able to acquire a Royal Room (can only try even if they do sell fast). Thanks again, this is a very helpful article (especially as it has decent photos of the interior of the train).

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