Recently we received an email asking about Japan Rail Pass validity on Sleeper Trains, and the opportunities for pre-booking.
Is the JR Pass valid, are there extra charges?
Your Japan Rail Pass is valid for travel on sleepers. Seats are free for Japan Rail Pass holders, while using a bunk or private room will cost you an additional discounted fare. If you do use a bunk or private room you will also have to pay the limited express fee, which is usually around ¥3,000. All reservations must be done inside Japan at a JR Ticket Office or Travel Agency.
Typical Sleeper costs Ueno (Tokyo) → Aomori
- Seat: w/o JR Pass ¥14,000 / with JR Pass FREE
- Couchette (bunk): w/o JR Pass ¥20,000 / with JR Pass ¥9,500
- Private Room: w/o JR Pass ¥20,000 / with JR Pass ¥9,500
Sleepers are in competition with highway buses and domestic flights, but they can be an economical way to see the Japanese landscape with your Japan Rail Pass. Handily they will also save you a night’s accommodation fee! Trains are equipped with toilets and sinks, the better ones also have public phones, showers, a restaurant and a lounge or lobby car.
See here for further information on additional costs per route.