Retired sleeper express given new lease of life

posted on May 25, 2016

East Japan Railway Co.'s defunct sleeper express Akebono has been renovated into a hotel that opened recently at Kosaka Railroad Rail Park in Kosaka, Akita Prefecture.

Akebono, an overnight express called the 24 series blue train, ran between Ueno and Aomori stations until March 2014.

The newly opened train hotel is popular not only with nostalgic elderly people, who used to use the train for business or to return home, but also with young people, who may now be interested in the sleeper because of its rarity.

The hotel train is located at an amusement center built on the defunct Kosaka mine railway. In the evening, four carriages, including Akebono, are led by a diesel engine that pulls into the platform at a wooden station in the park and welcomes guests aboard.

Guests can choose from two rooms - Type A, a "single deluxe" that can accommodate up to two people, and Type B for solo travelers. There are enough Type A rooms for up to 20 people, and enough of Type B for 28 people.

On board, travelers can get the full train experience. For example, members of the Kosaka railway preservation society wear conductors' uniforms to entertain guests with station and train announcements. Guests can also listen to the sound of the train as if they are traveling, and blankets and pillows are the same ones used during Akebono's operating days.

The hotel train is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as national holidays and the day before. Type A rooms cost ¥4,320 (including tax) per person per night. The fee for an additional person in Type A rooms is ¥1,080 (including tax).

source by the-japan-news
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