While scouring the web for cheap accommodation in the upper reaches of the Kuma River valley in Kumamoto Prefecture I came across Blue Train Taragi and just knew I wanted to stay there.
Blue Train Taragi is three converted railway sleeper cars, and though I have not slept on a Japanese sleeper train I have taken several in Europe, and thoroughly enjoyed them.
Blue Train Taragi is located right next to the tracks at Taragi Station, and the rolling stock used to be part of the Kumamoto to Tokyo express sleeper known as the Blue Falcon that ceased operating in 2009.
One car has 4 berth cabins suitable for families or groups, another has 18 single berth cabins, and the third has a common area with TV, wifi, and a small cafe.
The cabins are, as expected, cramped, yet strangely womb-like. There is no eating and drinking in the cabins, that is what the common area is for. There are washing facilities, but bathing is done across the street at the Ebisu Onsen, a free ticket for which is included in the price.
Thankfully the original toilets are not used, new, modern facilities have been built onto extensions to the carriages. It is possible to order breakfast when checking in or making reservations, as is lunch.
For an evening meal there are restaurants nearby as well as convenience stores. Blue Train Taragi is very popular with cyclists as there is a cycling tour route in the area, and also cycles can be rented.
The price is a very reasonable 3,000 yen for an adult.
Blue Train Taragi
Tel: 0966 42-1120
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