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All aboard Japan’s luxury trains

Experience the beauty of the Japanese landscape with a one-of-a-kind luxury train voyage, thanks to the East Japan Rail Company’s Train Suite Shiki- Shima. Despite the country’s small size, there is plenty of depth and beauty to be enjoyed in this expansive and dynamic land – and a journey through Japan’s railway provides a unique and exclusive offering.

With the design created by Ken Kiyoyuki Okuyama – who has worked with Porshe, Ferrari, and other bullet trains – that combines modern finishes with artistic elements of traditional Japanese culture, Train Suite Shiki-Shima provides a perfect backdrop for a tour of the Japanese countryside. You will be able to indulge in the luxurious suites, exclusive lounge, and stunning dining room before heading to the observatory car to watch the landscape pass by. The indulgence continues with the French-inspired culinary offerings available on board, created by Michelin-star chef Katsuhiro Nakamura. The dining car serves the very best seasonal ingredients cooked into beautiful fine cuisine dishes, which are made all the more enjoyable with the soothing movement of the train and the spectacular scenery just outside the windows.

dining room on board Train Suite Shiki Shima
Dining room on board Train Suite Shiki Shima

While the exclusive dining experience aboard Train Suite Shiki-Shima cannot be had anywhere else, guests will be able to enjoy even more culinary adventures throughout eastern Japan. Along your journey, you will be able to sample delicious meals masterfully prepared by local chefs, including a squid and salmon roe rice bowl from the waters of Hakodate, Niigata sushi, a world-class breakfast in Shonai, and traditional Edo cuisine in Akita.

The company offers a number of different voyages to choose from, bringing guests across the northern Tohoku region and up to the northernmost island, Hokkaido, for durations of one to three nights. These journeys are tailored to allow passengers to not only view Japan’s incredible natural scenery, but also to learn more about local industries, customs, and people thriving in each region. The “Seasons for East Japan” trips for 2017 and 2018 will give guests a first-hand look at a 700-year old Nishimonai Bon Dance, the vibrant doll culture of Sakata during the annual Doll Festival, the ancient silk craft of Yukitsumugi, or New Year rituals at Kashima Shrine.

Launched May 1, the ten-car sleeper train is already sold out until March 2018 – but reservations are open now for April 2018. However, on June 16th, the West Japan Rail Company’s Twilight Express Mizukaze will take its maiden voyage through Kyoto, Izumo, Matsue and Miyajima – showcasing the Sea of Japan, Mt. Jaisen, and the spectacular Seto Inland Sea Islands.

Inspired by the original Twilight Express, which ran between Osaka and Sapporo from 1989 until 2015, the ten-car Mizukaze offers an elegant touch of nostalgia for passengers to enjoy – along with fine dining, sophisticated design, and unforgettable scenery. Guests aboard the Mizukaze will be able to get an exclusive look into spaces not generally open to the public, immersing themselves in Japan’s history, culture, and natural beauty. ‡

 

© This article was first published in June/July 2017 edition of World Travel Magazine.

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