Sleep in a Train in the Heart of Tokyo at Train Hostel


WordsSolenn Cordroc'h

Front desk. Courtesy of Train Hostel.

You can expect a peaceful night’s sleep aboard the Train Hostel in Tokyo. From its launch in 1988 until its final journey in 2015, the Hokutosei train won the hearts of the Japanese. This express train became known for being the first to use the Seikan tunnel to link Ueno Station in Tokyo to Sapporo. The luxury sleepers and the French cuisine in the dining car endowed the train with a certain prestige. However, the time came to bid a sad goodbye to the train in December 2015, due to the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line and the fact that the Hokutosei train cars had become old and worn out. But the train has finally resumed its service, or almost: it has become the source of inspiration for a youth hostel named Train Hostel, the interior of which recreates the charm of this much-missed train.

The hotel has managed to salvage a few authentic pieces to satisfy railway nostalgics, such as the door to the dining car, the reading lamps and the bunk beds, in order to reproduce the old train as faithfully as possible. The East Japan Railway group were determined to evoke pleasant memories for former passengers, but also to allow foreign tourists to enjoy a stay in an environment which resembles a real train, right down to the most minute details.

Since it opened in December 2016, the Train Hostel has enjoyed some success. The compartments are spread over four floors and can accommodate up to 78 people. The price for a bed in a dormitory starts at $22, which is cheaper than most train tickets. The Hokutosei train is about to depart to Dreamland, so please be careful of the closing doors and mind the gap.

Female dormitory. Courtesy of Train Hostel.

Male dormitory. Courtesy of Train Hostel.

Mixed dormitory. Courtesy of Train Hostel.

Male dormitory. Courtesy of Train Hostel.

Train Hostel

10-12 Nihonbashibakurocho, Chūō, Tokyo 103-0002