No extra charge with Japan Rail Pass to take this overnight train! Passenger’s review of "Sunrise Seto"

Sunrise Seto / Sunrise IzumoKobe, Himeji

Sunrise Seto / Sunrise Izumo

I took “Sunrise Seto” from Tokyo to Takamatsu on April 23, 2010.

I reserved “Nobi Nobi seat”. This is one of the reserved seat. But I could lie down to sleep. It seemed to be a berth.

Nobi Nobi seat. This photo was taken from the aisle.

Aisle on the car of Nobi Nobi seat.

We did not have any announcement between Yokohama and Okayama because of avoid disturbing. And we did not have any English announcement on board.

Vending machine

Vending machine

This train has only the drink vending machine. It does not have any meal service. So grab some food and drink before boarding.

This seat does not provide any blanket. I was worry about the temperature on board. But it was too hot. You don’t need any sleeping bag. If you take some jacket, it’s fine.

Nobi Nobi seat car is non smoking car. But smoking is permitted next car. So I smelled smoke. If you really don’t like smoking smell at all, I don’t recommend to take this train.

I saw a beautiful sea shore line on the left side around 5:00 am. It was Suma beach. We cannot see that in winter time because it is still very dark. But from spring to autumn you can see this scenery. Don’t miss it!

Soon after the train left Kojima station at 6:52 am, the train went in Washuyama tunnel. Right after train went through the tunnel, the train took Seto Ohashi bridge. This is one of the longest bridge in the world. you have the spectacular scenery of Seto-Naikai sea.

I could get the lower seat. But if you can take upper seat, you will have a better view. Especially this train go through Seto Ohashi bridge. You will see the breathtaking view of Seto-Naikai Sea.

After taking Seto Ohashi, the train stops at Sakaide at 7:08 and arrive at Takamatsu at 7:26. This train connect several limited express bound for some cities in Shikoku island. But if you don’t stop by Takamatsu, you should change the train at Okayama. It’s much faster in most of cases.

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

Granvia Hotel Hiroshima Located in front of Hiroshima station
JAL City Hotel Matsuyama Good location and Good guest review


  1. Svetlana says:

    Hi Takeshi!

    I have a dilemma about using JR Pass and the overnight train and I was hoping you would be able to resolve it. I already bought the 7-days JR Pass and plan on activating it when I arrive to Japan. The thing is I would like to travel from Okoyama to Tokyo using the Sento Sunrise on the last day of validity e.g. the train will be leaving at roughly 10pm Sunday night , and Sunday is the last day my JR Pass is valid. Since JR Pass is valid until Sunday midnight, would I be able to board this train without extra charges?


    • Hi Svetlana,

      Actually I cannot answer this case now. In my understanding, JR basic rule applies to JR Pass. If so, the pass covers until you get off the train. In this case, it covers the trip from Okayama to Tokyo. Actually if you don’t exit Tokyo station, you can continue to travel by the local train.

      However this condition was written in JR pass official site. Now it was removed a few years ago. Since then, I have never tried to use this way. I am not 100% sure that you can do it or not. JR base fare rule is very complicated. Even most travel agents do not know this. If you do this, please ask the staff when you exchange the pass. This is only way to make sure.


      Takeshi /

  2. archie yu says:

    I will be traveling on the Sunrise Izumo or Seto anytime between July 13 to July 19 (we are flexible) with 5 people. I will be exchange JR passes and try to get reservations on June 24. What do you think is the probability that I can get nobibobi reservations on one of the dates I have have mentioned? Do you think I would have a hard time because of the season? What is the probability we could easily get adjoining berths? Thank you very much for wonderful site and advice!

  3. joanne says:

    Hi! I would like to ask if it is possible to get a reservation just a day before going from hakata station in fukuoka to tokyo via the sunrise seto using the jr pass? we are a family of 4 and we plan to just avail of the nobi nobi to save on accommodation expenses. Also is it possible to reserve in advance even if you just exchange the jr pass (example today) then make a trip beginning tomorrow as day1? we plan to reserve early but not use the jr pass after the exchange, maybe in 2 days after we exchange it (which will serve as our day 1). Hoping for your reply. Thanks and happy writing!

    • Hi Joanne,

      It’s hard to say…
      Nobi Nobi is very popular so if it’s booked out, it’s not surprised.
      Once you exchange the pass, you can book it right away. You can exchange JR pass before you start to use.
      For example, if you start using JR Pass on October 10th, you can exchange it today. When you exchange it, you can pick up the date when you want to start. You don’t need to start using right after you exchange. So try to exchange it as soon as possible and make sure the availability.


      Takeshi /

  4. Talisa says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    We are planning to go from Shinjuku to Himeji using overnight train on 4th of March 2016. Do we need to book Sunrise Seto Overnight train early as i heard it is usually booked out.

    We have JR Pass, so is that okay if we just go direct to the counter on 4/3/16 (without prior booking) and reserved the overnight seat at Shinjuku Station?

    Thank you

    • Hi Talisa,

      You can book anytime before train departure time at any major JR stations. You can try to book right after you arrive in Japan. As long as you exchange your JR pass, you can try to book right away at any major JR stations. I usually arrive Narita and exchange JR pass there. And I try to complete all train bookings.


      Takeshi /

  5. Erika says:

    Hi Takeshi san,
    I am a bit confused when it is possible to reserve a nighttrain ticket. I learned it is possible to reserve 10.00 on the days a month before departure, but a month as in how many days? A month can be alla from 28 to 31 days long..

    • Hi Erika san,

      For example, if you will take a train on Sep 28, ticket will be on sale at 10:00 am on Aug 28. If there is no same date, like October 31, ticket is on sale on Oct 1.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. Epi says:

    Thank You for your reply Takeshi and thank you for sharing your wealth of information with us. Looking forward to more of your insights.

  7. Epi says:

    Hi Takeshi we made plans to go to Shikoku, after reading your article about Sunrise Seto, an overnight train travel if we can get a booking will be a good experience for us. My question is will there be enough storage area for suitcases? Our flight originates and ldeparts from Narita, we might have a number of suitcases with us a family of 7 with children. Thank you for this very helpful site.
    Kind Regards,

    • Hi Epi,

      Unfortunately there is no space for luggage. Luggage must be kept in your space. If you take Nobi Nobi seat, you must put your luggage on your berth. If you take compartment, some compartment cannot have suitcase because it’s too tight.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  8. John says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    thanks for your reply. I have another question, I was reading on wiki that there is some kind of charge called “lodging charge” that Japan Rail Pass holders have to pay if they take the Sunrise Seto from Tokyo to Okayama, is that true? how about if I am able to get a Nobi Nobi seat? do I still have to pay the “lodging charge”? from here:

    it says:

    Sleeper Trains

    Because all sleeper trains from Tokyo and Kansai to Kyushu have been discontinued, traveling overnight to Kagoshima strictly by train could be a little difficult. Thankfully, trips are easier to make now that the Kyushu Shinkansen is fully operational.

    From Tokyo, it is still possible to take an overnight train, the 10 PM Sunrise Seto/Sunrise Izumo, to Okayama where you can connect to a bullet train the next morning to continue the journey. With a Japan Rail Pass, a connection to a Sakura at Okayama will get you to Kagoshima at around 10:50 AM. Without a Rail Pass you can connect in Okayama to a Mizuho that gets to Kagoshima by 9:45 AM.

    Rail Pass holders must pay the lodging charge on the Tokyo-Okayama segment; the rest of the trip by Hikari and Sakura is covered under the pass. Lodging charges currently range from ¥9450 for a B solo to ¥10500 for a B single, to ¥16500 for an A single deluxe. If you really want to travel on the cheap side, ¥3660 gets you your own floor space… literally, you sleep on the floor.


    Also I think I will either arrive at Tokyo and travel all the way down to Kagoshima, or arrive at Kagoshima and travel all the way up to Tokyo, I am just wondering for either of this route, is it possible that I only use the Japan Rail Pass without paying additional fee? And is it true that there a train from Kagoshima to Okayama that I can use the Japan Rail Pass, and then from Okayama to Tokyo, I can just take this overnight train without additional charge?

    thank you,

  9. john says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    just wondering is Japan Rail Pass still OK to be used on this overnight train? I am planning to visit Tokyo in May. I would like to visit Fukuoka too.

    I am just wondering if I take this overnight train from Tokyo to Takamatsu, is there another train that goes from Takamatsu directly to Fukuoka? (I don’t mind going from Takamatsu to say Osaka or Kyoto then going to Fukuoka as long as the trains is covered by Japan Rail Pass).

    Do you have any recommendation if I would like to go to Fukuoka from Tokyo and stopping at say Takamatsu, Osaka, Kyoto? Is there a train route that covers these cities using the Japan Rail Pass?

    thank you for your time,

    • Hi John,

      Yes. If you can get Nobi Nobi seat, JR pass covers fully. But it’s hard to book it very often.

      If you want to use this train to get Fukuoka, you have to get off at Okayama and transfer to Shinkansen. If you want to take this train to last station, Takamatsu, you have to take rapid train, to get Okayama from Takamatsu.

      If you look for somewhere to stop by on the way to Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Miyajima or Kurashiki are easier to stop than Kyoto and Osaka. If you want to visit Kyoto and Osaka, you have to go back and spend much extra time.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  10. ananchana wasuwat says:

    Hi,I will plan to leave from Osaka to Tokyo by JR Night Train use JR Pass on 31 Dec 2014. Should I book seat in advance? Can reserve the seat?


    • HI Ananchana,

      You have to book it in advance. But there is no way to book from outside of Japan. But I’m afraid it will be sold out. If it’s sold out, you have to find your accommodation on the spot. If you are okay with the risk, you can go for it. Otherwise book the hotel and take daytime train.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

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