Japan is known for its incredible natural beauty and as the seasons change, the landscape transforms from one beautiful work of art to another. One of the best ways to enjoy Japan’s beauty is by luxury train which not only allow you to enjoy the views, but also stop in certain areas so that you can do some sightseeing. Trains have changed a lot over the years and Japan’s luxury sleeper trains are like mobile five-star hotels.
Below are three of Japan’s luxury sleeper trains to indulge in:
Train Suite Shiki-Shima
The Train Suite Shiki-Shima departs from Ueno and travels throughout the Tohoku region and the northernmost island of Hokkaido. Since every compartment on this train is a suite, you are guaranteed the most comfortable travel experience. The suites are decorated with touches of traditional Japanese architecture, as well modern features. Each suite has a bathroom equipped with a toilet and shower, and specially designed suites are available for those with disabilities.
During your trip, you will probably want to soak up the breathtaking scenery that you will pass along the way. You can take a seat in one of the observatory cars which feature glass walls and ceilings, allowing you to get the best views possible.
When it comes to food, Train Suite Shiki-Shima does not disappoint. The chefs prepare delicious dishes made with fresh ingredients to showcase the fine cuisine of Eastern Japan. Enjoy the artistic flair of the lounge while getting a chance to mingle with other guests. Anytime you are in need of assistance, the friendly staff will be there to cater to your needs.
4 days/ 3 nights (Spring-Autumn): Travels through Higashi-Sanjo, Niitsu, Atsumi-Onsen, Tsuruoka, Hirosaki, Aomori, Hakodate, Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, Higashi-Muroran, Datemombetsu, Toya, Nikko and Noboribetsu.
2 days/1 night (Spring-Autumn): Travels through Enzan, Obasute and Aizu-Wakamatsu.
3 days/2nights (Winter): Travels through Shiroishi, Matsushima, Naruko-Onsen, Ichinoseki, Aomori and Hirosaki.
There is also a special travel option available for 2017 (see website for more details).
Prices start at 320,000 yen. To book a suite, you must submit an online application on their official website by the deadline listed. As the number of suites is limited, you should apply early and they will notify you by mail if you have been selected or not.
The Seven Stars train departs from Hakata and travels throughout the Kyushu region. As the first luxury sleeper train in Japan, Seven Stars has extensive experience in making their guests’ stay as comfortable as possible. Suites include Deluxe options which feature one carriage split into two rooms and Standard Suites which feature one carriage split into three rooms.
Each room has been carefully designed with a mix of Japanese and Western styles, and features a private toilet and shower, air-conditioning, free wifi and a minibar. Each Deluxe Suite boasts a unique design with a window for you to enjoy the views right from your room. There are also rooms specially designed for those with disabilities.
Equipped with a large bay window, the lounge is the perfect place to relax during the day and enjoy the views as they pass by. In the evening you can head to the lounge to hang out at the bar or enjoy live music performances. Whether you want to interact with others or just be alone, you will find the perfect seat to accommodate your preferences.
Entertain your palate with the Seven Stars’ gourmet dishes which are prepared from fresh, seasonal ingredients.
4 days/3 nights: Journey around Kyushu, traveling through the prefectures of Fukuoka, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima and Kumamoto (including a night at the Kirishima hot spring resort).
2 days/1 night: Round-trip journey through northern Kyushu, traveling through the prefectures of Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki and Kumamoto.
Prices start at 300,000 yen. Check their website for Premium Journey itineraries. You must submit an application form on their official website and be sure to check when they are accepting applications for the time you want to travel.
Twilight Express Mizukaze
The Twighlight Express Mizukaze train departs from Kyoto/Osaka and travels throughout the Chugoku region. This luxury train has three different room classes – Suite, Twin and Single. Each option has a private bathroom, with the Suites offering a toilet and a bathtub, as well as a private balcony.
The interior design of the Twilight Express Mizukaze is inspired by Art Deco which was a popular style in the 1920s and 1930s. The observation room has expansive windows which offer great views of the stunning scenery throughout the day, as well as towards the sky for star-gazing at night. If you want to get closer to the landscape, then step out onto the observation deck and enjoy the fresh breeze.
Get to know other guests in the lounge car which features a relaxing wooden interior, a bar counter and boutique, as well as tables and chairs for traditional tea ceremonies.
2 days/1 night – Sanyo Course (outbound): Departs from Kyoto/Osaka Station and passes through Kurashiki, Iwakuni and Shimonoseki.
2 days/1 night – Sanyo Course (inbound): Departs from Shimonoseki Station and passes through Miyajimaguchi and Onomichi.
2 days/1night – Sanin Course (outbound): Departs from Osaka/Kyoto Station and passes through Kinosakionsen and Higashi-Hagi.
2 days/1 night – Sanin Course (inbound): Departs from Shimonoseki Station and passes through Izumoshi and Tottori.
3 days/2 nights (round tour): Departs from Kyoto/Osaka Station and passes through Okayama, Shinji/Matsue and Higashihama.
Prices start at 270,000 yen.
Please note that tickets for this train can only be purchased in Japan and in 2017 there is no special English service on the train.
For more information and inquiries, see their official website.
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