How do you picture being transported to your fantasy vacation spot? A giant cruise ship? A seat in the first-class section of a jumbo jet? How about… a bus?
Not quite sure about that last one? Well the Japanese company Isetan Mitsukoshi Travel is trying to change your mind by offering luxury bus rides from Tokyo to all over Japan. And we’re not exaggerating with the use of the word luxury here: each bus seats only 10 people, and the ticket will cost you around 150,000 yen (US$1,211).
Can such a price tag possibly be worth it? Read on to find out!
The company that offers this luxurious bus is Isetan Mistukoshi Travel, which sells vacation packages all over Japan and overseas. But one problem the company has had is even though the destinations they offer are great, the process of getting to them just isn’t as luxurious as it could possibly be.
Planes can be uncomfortable and trains can get crowded…if only there was a way to ship their high-paying customers off to their vacations as comfortable and relaxed as they would be when they arrived. If only….
And thus the luxury bus tours were born. The buses are said to be modeled after the business class section of airplanes, and it definitely shows. Each bus which could normally hold 45 people (if it were configured like an ordinary public bus) now holds only 10, allowing for each passenger to spread out, lean back, and feel like they’re already on vacation while they’re en route to their destination.
One other thing is also quite reminiscent of business class: the cost. The cheapest bus tours that are only two days and one night cost around 150,000 yen ($1,211), but some others that are three days long cost 245,000 yen ($1,979) to 330,000 yen ($2,665). The trips include staying at high-class hotels and a few included outings and meals, but a significant portion of the cost is also just for the privilege of riding the luxury bus.
Isetan Mitsukoshi has put out a promotional video for their luxury bus line, which you can watch here. A warning in advance: some delicious Engrish subtitles await you.
▼ There are only 10 seats, and sometimes you may be the only one on the bus, just like this terrified-looking lady.
▼ Apparently they provide drinks and also take care of everything. Uh, in that case, maybe the tour guide could help me come up with a plan to get out of my crippling debt? Debt I got into by buying a ticket for this bus….
▼ “Highest quality,” eh? But what specifically do they do that’s so different from any other-
▼ Pretty sure I’ve seen this line used before on the pamphlet for a cult or two….
All jokes aside, the luxury bus does seem like it could be a fun way to take a vacation if you have the money to spend on it. And apparently a lot of people agree: Isetan Mitsukoshi reports that even with the high ticket prices, they’ve already sold more than half of their summer packages, with most of the customers being older retired couples and groups of women.
The bus tours go all over Japan, with current packages taking passengers on three-day trips to Nagano and Gunma. They vary season by season, focusing on visiting fireworks festivals during the summer, and most likely foliage in the fall and cherry blossoms in the spring.