Take A Look Inside Japan’s New Luxury Train
The train's sold out until 2018, and we can see why.
If you haven’t heard of Japan’s new Shiki-Shima luxury train, get ready to drool. And then get ready to pinch yourself very hard, because it’s completely sold out until 2018, so you won’t be riding on it anytime soon.
The much-anticipated Suite Train Shiki-Shima debuted May 1. The luxury train will depart from the Ueno station in Tokyo—leaving from platform 13½ (a nod to an almost-equally magical train that departed from platform 9¾, perhaps), which was built specifically for the train.
The Shiki-Shima can hold just 34 passengers. It has 17 suites and makes one-, two- and three-night round trip journeys to various locations throughout northeastern Japan. Travelers will be able to see rice fields, mountains and coastal views. Stops will be made so passengers can visit ancient shrines and temples, working farms and vineyards, and artisanal clothing ateliers along the route.
And if you were wondering about the amenities, they are beyond luxurious. Some of the suites even have a working fireplace or a second-floor loft!
The glass-enclosed observation cars will let passengers star up at the starry skies and offer gorgeous, panoramic views of the countryside.
Every aspect of the train is meant to combine “traditional Japanese craftsmanship and materials with modern touches,” according to Condé Nast Traveler. The train was designed by Ken Kiyoyuki Okuyama, who has worked for companies like Porsche, Ferrari and Maserati.
Oh, and if you were wondering about the food, the train’s chef is Katsuhiro Nakamura. Nakamura happens to be Japan’s first Michelin-starred chef, and his menus will change constantly over the course of the trip to reflect the specific region of the country the train is traveling through.
If you’re willing to wait an entire year for a trip on this luxury train, brace yourself. Nightly rates start at about $3,000 and go up to nearly $10,000. And once you’ve gotten over the sticker shock, you’ll still have to enter in an online lottery to win a spot on future trips. Plus, Shiki-Shima’s parent company, East Japan Railway, will only be opening these application periods every so often. So if you do manage to snag a ride, you’ve got all the luck in the world.
For now, we can just look at the pictures… and wipe our chins as we drool.