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In 1988, the Hokutosei sleeper express was the first train to use the Seikan tunnel to link Ueno Station in Tokyo to Sapporo, over a journey of 1200 kilometers. It gained popularity through such charms as luxury sleeping cars and a dining car where travellers could enjoy French-style cuisine. However, to the regret of many fans, in August 2015 the train service was discontinued due to the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line and the aging of the Hokutosei train cars.
Last month, the Hokutosei was "revived" as a hostel in the Nihonbashi Bakurocho area of central Tokyo. Called Train Hostel Hokutosei, the hostel reuses train car equipment and has become a hot topic among railway enthusiasts who consider it a rebirth of their beloved sleeper express.
The hostel differs from ordinary accommodations, with large dormitory-type guest rooms shared by men and women on three floors and a large guest room exclusively for women on one floor. Its 38 bunk beds and two semiprivate rooms can accommodate up to 78 overnight guests. Restrooms, shower rooms and a kitchen are shared.