Kumamoto: Retro Sleeper Train Now Cozy Lodgings

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Blue Train Taragi is seen near Taragi Station.

TARAGI, Kumamoto — A once popular sleeper train refurbished as a simplified accommodation facility warmly welcomes guests longing to relive its glory days. Three passenger cars from the Hayabusa limited express sleeper train now serve as a cozy and nostalgia-inducing lodging facility near Taragi Station along the Kumagawa Railroad in Kumamoto Prefecture.

The Hayabusa used to run from Tokyo Station to present day Kagoshima-Chuo Station before it was discontinued in 2009.

The Taragi municipal government then purchased three train cars and repurposed them into lodgings called Blue Train Taragi.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The interior of Blue Train Taragi

Two of the cars offer both bunk-bed style accommodations for four people and private room options, while the remaining car is a communal space in the former crew area with a television, tables and washbasins.

A 77-year-old Taragi native, who now lives in Fukuoka, said he stays at the facility three to four times a year. The man recalled working in Tokyo in his 20s and returning home by taking the Hayabusa train from Tokyo Station all the way back to Taragi Station. “The atmosphere inside the train is almost exactly as it was back then. It brings back memories,” he said.