We finally got our seats in the Nobinobi floor space in the Sunrise Express!
Do you know the Sunrise Express? You can travel from Tokyo to Takamatsu in Shikoku or to Izumo in Shimane in this sleeping car Express.
When we visited Japan, we tried to get our seats in the Sunrise Express, but every time, it didn’t go well.
This year (2019), a miracle happened! We could finally get our seats in the so called “Nobinobi floor” space!
Our recommendation is on a day in the middle of the week, that is not in the summer/winter holidays.
The Sunrise Express starts at 22:00 in Tokyo to Takamatsu/Izumo every day, but it is not easy to get a seat, because this express is a very beloved night train for Japanese tourists. Now, only a few sleeping cars are operating in Japan. Other sleeping cars are luxury trains, for example the Train Suite Shiki-shima, a ticket for this train costs from 370,000 Yen up, per person ( including 1 breakfast, 2 lunches and 1 Dinner ) .
The Sunrise Express is called the only remaining sleeping train for ordinary people in Japan, so it would be almost impossible to get seats on a weekend or in holiday seasons.
Because we could not get seats for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday during our former visits in Japan, this year we targeted only days in the middle of the week.
What is the Nobinobi floor?
This is the Nobinobi floor. If you have your Japan Rail Pass, you can book your seats at this floor without paying an additional sleeping car fee!
You can lay down in this space and stretch your legs. There are a light, an air conditioner and a blanket. If you want to charge your mobile phone, you should hurry up to keep an outlet, because there is only one outlet in the aisle in this Nobinobi floor car.
Our seats are not in the upper area (See photo above), so we could see the platform of Tokyo station from such a strange angle.
If you want to pay more for your comfort, you can book a compartment. It costs from 7000 -14,000 Yen per person. A pyjama is included for this price and there is an outlet in each compartment.
If you want to take a shower, hurry up!
Bring your own towel and some coins!
Important information if purchasing a shower card was only in Japanese.
- No towel is available in the train
- Only 1 card for each person
- Refund is not possible
- Please put in the smaller coins first
- Only 1000 Yen bills are possible
- Money exchange is not possible in this train.
We recommend to bring some 100-yen coins and 10-yen coins, because if using a 1000 Yen bill you cannot get change in the worst case.
What we did at first in the train? Surely buying a shower card!
How to take a shower in the Sunrise Express
After using you should push the blue button to cleaning the shower booth.
In the shower booth you can find other buttons.
With the green one you can start taking a shower. If you want to pause, you should push the red one. Don’t worry, the time won’t end, if you press the red button.
There are shampoo and body soap in the booth. Taking a shower for 6 minutes is long enough for a man to clean himself, but maybe it would be too short for a woman.
There is a hair dryer in the booth, but the power is very weak. It takes really much time to dry long hair…
Our tips for a good sleep in the nobinobi floor
At first we thought, that this Nobinobi floor was better than a compartment, because it is more spacious than the compartment.
But during sleeping, we changed our mind. The floor was too hard to sleep. We brought our air pillows (from the 100 Yen shop), and it helped us, but our shoulder and backs needed also some cushions.
At Okayama station, the Sunrise Express is divided to the Sunrise Seto (to Takkamatsu) and to the Sunrise Izumo (to Izumo).
On this day, there were some seats in the Nobinobi car where still available. If you want to travel from Tokyo to the West with your Japan Rail Pass and save money for a hotel, try to ask a staff member in the service centre. If you are lucky, you can get your seat in the Nobinobi car. You can reach Himeji at around 5:30 or Okayama at 6:30 while you are sleeping.
Our destination was Takamatsu, but it was not our final destination. Where were we going? You can see it in our other articles.