All About Japan

This Luxury Bus Gets You to Osaka in Style!

Transportation Bus Tokyo Osaka Kanto Kansai

Usually, overnight buses are the cheapest way to travel long distances in Japan. However, a ride on the Dream Sleeper, which just began service in January, from Ikebukuro, Tokyo to Osaka currently costs ¥18,000 (US$155), a discount from the usual rate of ¥20,000—compared to the approximately ¥13,600 such a route would cost using the Shinkansen.

Still, when you consider that taking the overnight bus saves you a night of hotel fees, it starts to look like a pretty attractive deal.

The Dream Sleeper’s premium pricing also gives you much more luxurious amenities than ordinary overnight buses. When boarding, passengers are asked to remove their shoes, much as they would when entering a Japanese home.

This is to help keep the vehicle’s plush carpeting soft and clean. And while overnight buses usually have passengers sleeping in the same open area, as on an airplane, the Dream Sleeper provides each traveler with a private room.

The “zero gravity seat” was created using NASA-developed technology, the bus’s operator boasts. Near your elbow, you’ll find a panel of buttons that let you adjust the soft yet supportive seat to fit your preferences. The back can be reclined to a 45-degree angle, and you can stretch your legs out fully in front of you, so as long as you’re used to sleeping on your back, you should be able to get comfortable and doze off to sleep pretty easily.

The Dream Sleeper makes one rest stop, at the Ashigara Service Area in Shizuoka Prefecture. If you feel the call of nature at any other time, though, just make your way to the back of the vehicle, where you’ll find a powder room and bathroom. The bathroom even has a fancy bidet-function toilet.

That way even if you’re not riding the bullet train, you can still experience one of Japan’s technological marvels while moving about the country.

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