The Twilight Express (トワイライトエクスプレス) runs from Osaka to Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido. The train runs past Lake Biwa and then along the coast of the Sea of Japan, through the 34 mile Seikan Tunnel (青函トンネル) – a tunnel underneath the ocean between the main island of Honshu and the northern island of Hokkaido, then along the Pacific coast of Hokkaido to Sapporo. Its a 22 hour trip. Using our Japan Rail Pass, we boarded the Twilight Express in Kyoto.
It’s our second time on the Twilight Express, a few years ago we rode it in the opposite direction from Sapporo to Osaka. On the previous trip, we had a twin room (a bunk bed and a bit of extra room to sit). This trip we could only get single twin rooms – 2 seats that convert into a bed and an overhead bed but no extra room. But we got a room for each of us, one on the left side of the train and another on the right side – so we could take in the scenery from both sides.
Lunch in the dining car.
Passing through Obama.
On our previous trip, smoking was allowed in the salon car. Fortunately, its non-smoking now and that makes it a lot more pleasant to hang out and take in the scenery.
A brief stop, with enough time to buy an “eki-ben” (駅弁), short for station bento. A lunch box with local specialties.
The area along the Sea of Japan had an unusually heavy snow storm a few days before, that halted train service and roads for a couple of days. Fortunately, the trains resumed service the day before we passed through.
A French dinner in the dining car.
By sunrise, we were running along the coast of Hokkaido.
Breakfast, a choice of Japanese (grilled salmon, rice, and miso) or western (eggs, yogurt, and croissant).
The seats convert into a bed.
And finally at Sapporo Station.