Tickets for Japan’s newest all-suite luxury sleeper train Shiki-Shima — which operator East Japan Railway says offers a high-grade space of huge windows and fine-dining restaurants — have been completely snapped up.
Bookings for the three-day, two-night luxury tour on wheels will reopen again in April 2018. With a price tag of nearly US$10,000 per person for its most lavish maisonette-type suite, passengers will be forking out about US$2 for every minute on the 60-hour journey.
Departing from Ueno station in Tokyo, lunch and dinner are served as the 10-car Shiki-Shima (meaning ‘Island of Four Seasons’) rolls north to the castle town of Hirosaki. There is a forest-like lounge and two glass-walled observation cars at both ends, ideal for observing mountains and coastlines. The train, which carries only 34 people at maximum occupancy, will also stop in different cities along the north-eastern region of Tohoku for guests to explore these local areas.
The inside of the Champagne-gold-veneered train was decked out by renowned designer Ken Kiyoyuki Okuyama, who has worked for Porsche, Ferrari, and Maserati. It boasts furnishings using local materials of wood, washi paper and Japanese lacquer. Tatami mats and cypress wooden bathtubs are seen in the two highest-grade suites, adding traditional aesthetic appeal. Similarly, the other 15 smaller rooms come with comfortable beds and an en-suite with shower.
According to its website, Shiki-Shima’s gourmet offerings use seasonal ingredients from around eastern Japan. The menu has been crafted by Katsuhiro Nakamura, Japan’s first Michelin-starred chef. Regional kaiseki cuisine will be served with cutlery designed by Yamazaki Kinzoku Kogyo, renowned maker of tableware for dinner parties at Nobel Prize awards ceremonies.
East Japan Railway serves Tokyo and other areas in the eastern part of Honshu. JR West, which serves Osaka and other areas in the western part of Honshu, will launch its own version of the luxury sleeper train called Twilight Express Mizukaze in June 2017.
For more information on Shiki-Shima, please click here.