Kanto Bus Co. and Ryobi Holdings Co. have announced they will begin operating a highway night bus equipped with only private rooms from Jan. 18 between Tokyo and Osaka.
According to the companies, the new model is the first in the industry to equip every seat with a sliding door to make a private room. In addition to a door, each of the eleven seats is equipped with a motorized reclining function, a power outlet, and an air purifier, while the bus itself features washlet toilets, powder rooms, and free Wi-Fi. Taking into account the price of Shinkansen bullet train tickets and business hotels, a one-way ticket is priced at 20,000 yen (15,500 yen for children), hoping to attract business travelers.
The bus, named "Dream Sleeper Tokyo and Osaka," leaves from the west exit of Tokyo's Ikebukuro Station at 10:50 p.m. and arrives at Osaka City Air Terminal (OCAT) in Namba, Osaka at 6:40 a.m. and the Ryobi Bus Kadoma Depot at 7:30 a.m. the next day. The Tokyo-bound bus leaves from the Kadoma Depot at 9:50 p.m., OCAT at 10:40 p.m., and arrives at Ikebukuro Station at 6:40 a.m. the next day.
The Ryobi Group's Chugoku Bus already operates "Dream Sleeper" highway night buses from Machida and Yokohama to Hiroshima and Fukuyama with private rooms separated by curtains. The bus gained a reputation for comfort, boasting 80 to 85 percent seat occupation. With increasing use by business travelers, the company considered introducing the service between Tokyo and Osaka, operating together with Kanto Bus to make it a reality.
As part of a special campaign celebrating the start of the service, one-way tickets for adults will be priced at 18,000 yen (14,500 yen for children) until Feb. 28. Tickets will be issued at Kanto Bus tourist information offices and tourist agencies a month before the departure date.