Japan's Willer EXPRESS Cocoon Buses Bust Their Butts To Pamper Passengers

Traditional intercity buses provide passengers with a better level of comfort compared to public transit or even school buses but you'd hardly call them luxurious... until now.

Japan's Willer EXPRESS Cocoon buses break the mold by providing each passenger with a level of both luxury and privacy once thought impossible – and it's accomplished without sacrificing much in the way of total passenger loads.

Luxury buses aren't anything new: just ask any mid-level or better rock star whose traveled from show to show on America's highways and biways. Bus companies like Greyhound, for example, need to maximize the number of passengers per bus and that usually means riders don't enjoy anything close to rock star treatment.

Willer Travel Inc., an Osaka-based travel & tourism services company with just under 100 employees, is breaking with bus-riding tradition with their EXPRESS Cocoon service between Osaka and Tokyo. Each dedicated Cocoon bus has just 12 seats and only 2 seats per row, making every seat a window seat... but that's just the start.

Every seat is a self-contained module angled towards the central aisle and partially enclosed by a rounded partition wall. Seats recline 140 degrees and include a padded footrest.

A personal TV screen offering Video On Demand is mounted above a fixed table and every passenger enjoys free WiFi Internet. It's the format and structure of the herringbone-style seat arrangement that makes an unparalleled level of comfort and privacy possible, however.

How much is a luxurious seat on one of Willer's EXPRESS Cocoon buses going to cost you? According to the company website, a trip from Tokyo to Osaka (or vice versa) runs from 9,800 to 11,800 yen ($115 to $139).

Not exactly cheap but very competitive with both a short-hop jet or a ride on the Bullet Train. Oh sure, it's slower, but with luxury like this on tap who wants to rush?