By Andrew Liszewski
During my university years I relied heavily on the services of Greyhound for getting home. Not because they were convenient or comfortable, but because they were cheap. As a result I have a certain image of bus travel (not that positive) that has just been shattered by Japan’s Willer Express. Their Cocoon bus, meant for business types traveling between Osaka and Tokyo, looks like something out of a first-class airline cabin.
Instead of maximizing occupancy by almost stacking riders on top of each other, the Cocoon bus features luxurious single person pods, just 12 in total per bus, that run along the sides ensuring every rider has a ridiculously comfortable window seat. There’s an entertainment center with a touch-screen LCD display at every seat providing video-on-demand content, free wifi and the seats recline 140 degrees if you just want to zonk out. A one-way trip will set you back about $115-$140, which isn’t too shabby given it’s a long 6 or 7 hour ride. (Though I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just take a high-speed train instead.)