Overnight Bus Hotel from Tokyo to Osaka

Overnight Bus Hotel from Tokyo to Osaka

Unlike Europe, Japan has limited options for overnight trains from Tokyo. Japan’s Shinkansen high-speed railway network which speeds up to 200 mph only operates in the day and is closed from midnight till 6am. However, there is another travel alternative that can get you from Tokyo to Osaka overnight. Do you mean like those coach buses from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur? Oh – no, it’s completely on another level! 

Meet The Dream Sleeper – Overnight Bus Hotel 

The superior overnight bus service offered by Kanto Bus Co. Ltd – The Dream Sleeper is a game-changer for travellers who wish to get the most out of their trip and yet do not want to compromise on comfort and quality.

You’ll have more time to explore Tokyo till around 10pm and do not have to worry about the logistics of catching the first or last Shinkansen to Osaka. The idea is similar to an overnight train experience offered in Europe, in a sense where passengers are actually sleeping on a “bus hotel”.

The Dream Sleeper comes with 11 single guest rooms. Each room is equipped with a high-tech “zero gravity seat” ergonomically designed according to NASA’s standards. To put it simply, it has been designed to achieve a comfortable weightless posture to alleviate passenger’s fatigue from sitting for long periods of time. Amenities such as sleeping mask, ear plugs, toothbrush set are provided as well. Not forgetting to mention, it has the cleanest toilet you’ll ever find on a bus. The experience feels like checking into a minibus hotel as you’ll have to remove your shoes when you board The Dream Sleeper and change into a pair of slippers. 

How long is the bus journey?

The Dream Sleeper departs from Ikebukuro, Tokyo daily at 10.50pm. The overnight journey from Tokyo to Osaka is about 7.5hours, and it usually reaches Osaka by 6:30am. This potentially makes it the better choice for maximising your time during your trip. 

Well, of course, taking the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka is faster (2 hours journey) but it may cost you one extra night of lodging in Tokyo if you wish to take the earliest Shinkansen at 6AM out to Osaka.

What about the cost? Even though the price is comparable to a domestic flight ticket, and slightly more expensive than taking the Shinkansen, but it is a worthwhile experience. The Dream Sleeper provides every guest their own private sleeping cabin, amenities, free WiFi, and a hotel-like atmosphere, you’ll find yourself waking up in the heart of Osaka refreshed and ready to hit the streets! 

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Where to Enjoy Beautiful Autumn Scenery in Japan

Where to Enjoy Beautiful Autumn Scenery in Japan

Do you remember your first Autumn experience abroad?

It is still vivid in my memory. I was sitting on the banks of Lake Kawaguchi in Japan, surrounded by autumnal trees dressed in red, orange and yellow.

Inspired by the mesmerizing sight before me, I penned a Haiku, an ode to Autumn:

Autumn’s arrival

Flashes of gold, red, ochre

Dancing in the wind

I recently discovered that the Japanese even have a word forappreciating the autumn foliage: Momijigari or Koyo.

The harbingers of Autumn in Japan are clear blue sky, brightly coloured leaves, shorter days, longer nights, and dry cold air.

Autumn begins in mid-September to December, for about three months. If you have the opportunity, you should visit Japan during this season at least once in your lifetime, you will not regret it.

Time to get your JR Pass ready to experience what Japan has to offer during Autumn. Here are some of the best spots in Japan to experience autumn with your loved ones.

1. Arashiyama, Kyoto

Located on the outskirts of Kyoto, Arashiyama (Storm Mountain) is well-known as a place of scenic beauty and was a favourite retreat of the emperors and aristocrats in ancient times. Today, this area is also known for its exorbitant suburban homes.

Apart from the insta-famous Bamboo forest, there are so much more to Arashiyama. Go on the Sagano Scenic train ride, which is also Kyoto’s Romantic Train, and as its name suggests— it is truly a romantic experience to pass through the mountains overflowing with Japanese maple trees and listen to the soothing burbling sound of the Hozu-gawa River. Try to get your tickets at the station early and wish hard that you’ve been assigned to a window seat.

2. Mount Takao, Tokyo

As a matter of fact, it is impossible to miss the beautiful foliage even if you are taking a leisure stroll in bustling Tokyo. Consider venturing out of the city for a while, take a day trip to Mount Takao, which is only one hour away from Shinjuku station.

It is said that Mount Takao is home to the tengu, which is a variety of yōkai (supernatural monsters). But don’t you worry, there are no monsters in sight.

Take the Takaotozan Cable Car ride to the observatory deck on top of the mountain and, lo and behold, a spectacular view of the forest blanketed in gold and scarlet foliage greets you.

If you’re in the mood to hike up the mountain, there are several hiking trails designed for beginners to advanced hikers.

After taking in the marvellous view from the top of the mountain, treat yourself to a bowl of Mount Takao’s signature dish, Tororo soba (buckwheat noodles topped with grated Japanese yams), at Takahashiya located at the foot of mountain.

3. Fuji Five Lakes

Lake Yamanakako
Lake Kawaguchiko

Possibly the world’s most beautiful volcano, Fuji-san, the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776 metres above sea level. Fuji-san last blew its top in the late 16th century. The volcano is now dormant, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world to marvel at the snow-capped beauty.

Autumn is the most beautiful time to visit any of the Fuji Five Lakes (Yamanakako, Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Shojiko and Motosuko), with the iconic Fuji-san in the background.

If you’re travelling from Tokyo, then I’d recommend taking a trip to Kawaguchiko. There is an Autumn Leaves Festival (Fuji-Kawaguchiko Momiji matsuri) that takes place on the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko. It has a designated ‘Momiji Corridor’— a walkway lined with plenty of maple trees in bright red, orange and yellow that proves to be an alluring sight and it is also a prime location for photography.

But if you wish to take in the sights of the autumnal leaves far from the tourist crowd, then take a trip to Lake Yamanakako, the largest lake of the Five Fuji Lakes. Apart from the stunning scenery, there are reputable outdoor hot spring baths in this area too.

4. Hoshi no Buranko in Hoshida Park, Osaka

Literally the swing of the stars, Hoshi no Buranko in Hoshida Park is a 280-metre-long giant suspension bridge at about 50-metre-high, which is about 15 storeys. As this long bridge connecting the two valleys looks like a bridge over the milky way hence it has been described as a swing.

The wooden suspension bridge offers panoramic views of the forest valleys. The atmosphere is even more spectacular during the autumn season. Imagine gazing out into the gorgeous natural landscape that is covered in soft shades of gold and scarlet, what a sight to behold.

5. Lake Ashinoko, Hakone

I’m sure you have seen that iconic Instagram photo featuring the giant waterside torii gateway of Hakone Shrine and Fuji-san in the backdrop, and that, is none other than the legendary beauty – Lake Ashinoko. It was formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone after the volcano’s last blew its top 3,000 years ago.

During autumn, the surrounding forested slopes will be shrouded in vivid colours, and the best way to admire the spectacle is to cruise on Lake Ashinoko and we bet you’d wish the entire journey to be longer than 30minutes!

6. Ryuzu Falls, Nikko

Fall paints the landscape in crimson red at Nikko city in Tochigi Prefecture.  Just two hours of train ride from Tokyo, you’ll find yourself in a mythical city full of nature wonders. Nikko is famed for its rugged wilderness, ornamental temples and shrines, as well as therapeutic hot springs.

I had no idea that the surrounding trees near the waterfalls transformed into vivid colours of crimson and oranges faster, it is usually the first site that reveals the change in season. And that brings us to Ryuzu Falls in Nikko.

According to the locals, Ryuzu Falls is Nikko’s underrated beauty that puts on an amazing autumn display and is a prime location for photography. What is interesting about Ryuzu Falls is that it resembles the shape of a dragon head. Hence it was named literally— as Ryuzu means ‘the head of a dragon’.

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Tokyo’s Best Kept Secret: Omokagebashi Bridge

Tokyo’s Best Kept Secret: Omokagebashi Bridge

Spring in Tokyo is an ethereal sight. The weather is becoming warmer, trees have shed their winter covers, and those branches that stretch into the sky are shrouded in pink petals. Cherry Blossom, or Sakura, is Japan’s symbol and national flower. These cherry blossoms trees are deeply revered in Japanese culture as they symbolise the transient nature of life, beautiful yet fleeting.

When the season rolls round, the people of Tokyo pack picnic baskets and gather underneath the cherry blossom trees to adore and to celebrate this ephemeral phenomenon. 

Sakura hubuki, which means ‘a rainfall of cherry blossoms’ in Japanese, is exactly how Tokyo looks like in April.

On our recent trip to Tokyo, we followed goddess serendipity and chanced upon an unassuming neighbourhood near Waseda University and much to our surprise, we were literally under a Sakura Hubuki – an ornamental bloom of white, purple and pale pink surrounds Omokagebashi Bridge

The Omokagebashi Bridge is one of the little bridges that lies over the Kanda River. After getting off at the nearby eponymous tram station, we wondered at first whether we were at the right place. The immediate vicinity was a worryingly nondescript Tokyo urban neighbourhood.

Turning into a side road leading to the Kanda river, we approached Omokagebashi Bridge, and were rewarded with Sakura blossoms lining both sides of the river.

We were speechless and in awe of what we saw and concluded that this has to be the most underrated cherry blossom viewing spot in Tokyo because we could still count on our fingers the number of onlookers who briefly stopped by the bridge.

These Sakura blooms continue from Omokagebashi bridge eastwards to Edogawa bridge. However, the densest blooms can be found surrounding Omokagebashi bridge itself. The Kanda river flow was also at its most furious here, providing a nice contrast to the gently swaying petals above it. Further down towards Edogawa bridge, the blooms start to thin out, and correspondingly, the river flow slowed down to a tepid meander.

Omokagebashi Bridge’s proximity to the Waseda campus meant students didn’t have far to travel, to enjoy one of Tokyo’s best Hanami treats. The fact it wasn’t too crowded meant they weren’t too eager on sharing their secret spot. Also, the bridge has regular vehicular traffic traversing, so avid photographers would do well to take note of their surroundings.

We’ll never get over springtime in Japan; however short-lived these beauties of nature are, they will always enchant visitors from around the world to experience hanami (Cherry blossom viewing festival).

All photographs taken by Discoverist.sg.

Stay tuned for more travel stories! We are launching our youtube channel soon! 

Address

3, Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Getting There

Get on Toden Arakawa Line (Tokyo Tram) and alight at Omokagebashi Station

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