Goodnight to Japan’s sleeper trains

Japan’s high-speed rail network is forcing the withdrawal of most of the country’s sleeper train services as rail passengers switch to Shinkansen routes.

From next March the Blue Train which connects Ueno and Aomori will finish, followed by the Hokutosai that connects Tokyo with Sapporo by the end of the 2014 fiscal year.

The end of 2015 will also see the Twilight Express between Osaka and Hokkaido come to an end, coinciding with the launch of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line.

Beyond 2015 there will still be two overnight services operating, the Sunrise Seto and Sunrise Izumo, but their long-term future must also be in doubt.

Report by Jonathan Webb