High Demand For Jr West’s New Luxury Sleeper Train Tickets

High demand for JR West’s new luxury sleeper train ticketsWell-heeled hopefuls have just a 1-in-25 shot of securing a seat on West Japan Railway Co.’s new luxury sleeper, the Twilight Express Mizukaze, on its inaugural journey.
JR West revealed on Feb. 13 details of applications for tickets for the train, which will embark on its first season from June 17 through September, traveling between Kyoto, Osaka and Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The company received 2,022 applications for a total of 368 guest room places. On average, one in 5.5 applicants is expected to get tickets during the high-end nostalgic train’s first three months in operation.

Passengers will be selected by lottery if applicants outnumber the available places. Winners will be informed at the end of this month.

Among those applicants, about 40 percent are residents of the Kansai region while about 30 percent live in the Kanto region.

On its first day, the Twilight Express Mizukaze will offer a two-day, one-night trip that will take passengers from Kyoto or Osaka to Shimonoseki, traveling through the Sanin region facing the Sea of Japan.

A woman in her 40s from Hyogo Prefecture seized the opportunity to purchase the most luxurious whole carriage-sized suite for two at 750,000 yen ($6,524) per person on the maiden journey, beating odds of 1 in 29 to be able to splash out on the tickets.

The competition was the toughest for tickets for the same suite on June 21. Applicants have a 1-in-68 chance of getting to splurge 1.2 million yen per person for two people on the three-day, two-night round trip that departs from either Kyoto or Osaka stations and travels through both the Sanin region and the Sanyo region along the Seto Inland Sea.

The 1 in 5.5 average competitive rate for tickets for the Mizukaze, whose name means “fresh wind or joyous wind which brings fortune,” falls short of those for East Japan Railway Co.’s Train Suite Shiki-shima (Island of four seasons), which is around 1 in 6.6, and Kyushu Railway Co.'s luxury sleeper train Nanatsuboshi (Seven Stars), which is around 1 in 7.3.

“Mizukaze runs three times a week, offering more train services than Shiki-shima and Nanatsuboshi,” said a JR West official, explaining why applications for the Mizukaze couldn’t match those of its two other luxury train competitors.