This time I went with Willer Express. The company runs a bunch of routes throughout Japan, and they have an excellent English website. The prices are competitive, and they operate a diverse fleet of buses.
The first is the personal "canopy." It folds up behind your seat, and you pull it to extend it over your head. Voila, private head cone.
The touch screen monitor is mounted on the seat in front of you.
The console also has a few local TV channels. That didn't interest me either.
Then there's the built-in 8 (16?) bit Sega video game system. You can choose from 15 games from yesteryear, including Sonic and Knuckles, Decap Attack, and Golden Axe.
My favorite was Flicky.
Your other entertainment option is music.
Another nice feature: There's a power port (two prong), so you can juice up your electronic devices during the trip.
Anyway, it was a 5.5 hour ride, and we stopped twice at rest stops. I had some surprisingly good cold soba in the Shizuoka area (I think that's where we were) - packaged up convenience store style, but maybe made by some nice seaside soba supplier. It was oishi.
All in all, not a bad ride, and for 3500 yen, who could complain. My ride back on Sunday will be a bit more (4500 yen), so note that route prices aren't fixed. I think if you book further in advance you get slightly better rates. Plus there are other discounted rates available.
So there you go. If you need to get from A to B in Japan, the highway buses are very popular (and a fraction of the cost of a shinkansen). You can even take overnight buses from point to point, which saves time and a night's accommodation. I can't promise you'll get a lot of sleep on the buses, but who knows - maybe a couple of games of Flicky followed by some Coconut Shade of a Tree under your personal head canopy is all you need for some easy z's as you're rollin' down the highway in Japan.